Helpful Information

When A Death Occurs

There are several things that must be considered when a death occurs. The order in which things need to be done usually depends on whether the death occurred at a residence, a public place, a hospital or hospice facility. A large number of people choose to be at home with Hospice or a home health care provider who assists the family until death occurs. Usually, the family will notify Hospice or the health care provider, and they will contact the proper people in the correct order; the physician, the medical examiner's or coroner?s office (if necessary), and the funeral home. If Hospice or a home health care provider is not involved, but the person is under a physician's care, and family or friends are present, the family may want to call the funeral home directly. If 911 is called and an ambulance responds, the ambulance crew notifies the police, who will then go to the residence. The police will then conduct their normal investigation before calling the funeral home. However, if the family calls the funeral home first, they will notify the proper authorities by phone, and the police may not need to go to the residence.

  • If death occurs in a residence and no one is there at the time of death, the police must be notified and must respond to the residence before the deceased is removed from the home. This may result in a coroner becoming involved.
  • If death occurs in a hospital or other care center, the name of the funeral home may be left with them, and the institution will notify the funeral home at the time of death. It is advisable for the family to also call the funeral home as soon as possible. The funeral home will respond immediately (we are on call 24-hours a day). At a time convenient to the family, the funeral home will review matters with the family.
  • If you are uncertain who to notify when death occurs, please call us in Lawndale at 215-745-9009 or Richboro at 215-322-5545.


Many organizations require certified copies of death certificates in order for survivors to receive benefits. During the arrangement conference we will discuss with you the various organizations that require these certified copies. During this time we will also help you determine how many certified copies you will need.

If after sometime you have discovered that you need more certified copies of a death certificate, please use the links below. The link below will take you to the Pennsylvania Department of Health website, where you can find information about ordering certified copies by phone, online, by mail or in person at a regional office. Please note the fee will be waived for records of individuals who served in the Armed Forces and their dependents. If this applies to you please be sure to fill in the correct information. As always if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call us, we will do our best to help you.

Pennsylvania Department of Health-Death Certificates

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Social Security Information

Click here to access the Social Security Administration website or call 1-800-772-1213 (Toll Free).

Claims for Social Security benefits can be filed for by telephone. When you call the Social Security Administration their representative will explain the benefits you may be entitled to and help you with the procedure to be used for filing your claim.

You may be entitled to some of the Social Security benefits listed below:

  • Lump sum death payment to the surviving spouse
  • Life pension to widow over 60
  • Pension to widowed mother with dependent children
  • Pension to minor children of deceased under 18 years of age (19 years of age if still in high school)

Social Security benefits are subject to constant change. For this reason, if any question of eligibility arises, contact the Social Security Administration. When calling the Social Security office, they may need the following information depending on the benefit(s) you are applying for:

  • Certified death certificate
  • Copy of marriage certificate
  • Deceased's Social Security card or number
  • Birth Certificate of minor children (under 18) (19 if still in high school)
  • Record of income for preceding year

If any of the above information is not available, do not delay applying. The local Social Secuirty office may suggest other proofs that may be used. As always if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call us, we will do our best to help you.

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Honoring Veterans

Click here to access the Veterans Administration.

The Veterans Administration provides a full range of benefits for eligible dependents. Information can be provided by the Veterans Administration in Washington. The toll free Number is 1-800-697-6947. The Philadelphia Veterans Administration telephone number is 215-842-2000.

Burial Expense Reimbursement

For wartime, Korean Conflict or Vietnam Era Veterans; and peacetime Veterans entitled to service-connected compensation or pension, or retired for disability incurred in the line of duty. The amount of payment will vary and claims should be filed within two years of death.

Burial Flag

American flag to drape the casket and then be given to the next of kin for wartime and certain peacetime service.

Burial in National Cemetery

Any honorably discharged Veteran, or a Veteran's next of kin. Burial of cremated remains is available to all honorably discharged Veterans. In January 2008 the design contract for the Washington Crossing National Cemetery was awarded and we at Campbell and Thomas Funeral Home are proud to be in close proximity to this National Cemetery located near Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County Pennsylvania.

Transportation to Cemetery and Transfer to Funeral Home

These expenses may be reimbursed if the Veteran died while under VA care, or in a facility authorized by the Veterans Administration.

Headstone or Grave Marker

Available for any honorably discharged Veteran. The Government will provide a headstone or grave marker without charge.

Survivors Benefits

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Payment to Survivors of Veterans who die on or after January 1, 1957, from a service-connected disability, or total disability for 10 years prior to death.

Military Honors at Gravesite

Military Honors at Gravesite depending on rank at time of honorable discharge. A contingent of honor will be present at the Cemetery to play taps and fold the American Flag and present it to the next of kin.

Death Pension

For widows, widowers and children of deceased wartime Veterans, including Korean Conflict and Vietnam Era periods, who have died of non-service connected causes and have limited income.

Presidential Memorial Certificate

richboro PA burial services

A beautifully engraved paper certificate,
signed by the current President,
to honor the memory of an honorably discharged deceased veteran


If the next of kin and family wish, we will contact the appropriate branch of military and schedule Military Honors at the Gravesite, a Burial Flag to be folded and presented, and if desired Burial in a National Cemetery.

We will provide the necessary forms and assist you in filing for the County Burial Allowance, Headstone or Grave Marker (if you choose to have one), the Burial Expense Reimbursement if it is applicable, and the Presidential Memorial Certificate. As always if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call us, we will do our best to help you.

If you are unable to locate the Veteran's DD-214 or any other separation or discharge document, you can obtain a copy from the National Personnel Records Center at the National Archives. This can be done through their website at Request Military Service Records or Prove Military Service. You can also obtain the Standard Form SF-180 by clicking on the following link Standard Form SF-180.After completing the form you can mail or fax it to the National Personnel Records Center.You can contact the National Archives at 1-866-272-6272.

As always if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call us, we will do our best to help you.


County Burial Allowance 

Available to Pennsylvania residents only and varies among each county. Claims to be filed within one year of death.


Bucks County Military Affairs
55 E. Court Street, 1st Floor
DoylestownPA 18901
Phone: 215-345-3307

Chester County Veterans Affairs
601 Westtown Road, Suite 170
PO Box 2747
West Chester, PA 19380-0990
Phone: 610-344-6375

Delaware County Veterans Affairs
Government Center, Room G3
201 W. Front Street
Media, PA 19063
Phone: 610-891-4646

Montgomery County Veterans Affairs
Human Services Center
PO Box 311
Norristown, PA 19404-0311
Phone: 610-213-4022

Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission
Philadelphia City Hall
Room 127
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-686-3256


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Things to Do Following the Funeral

  1. Obtain certified copies of the death certificate.
  2. Write and send acknowledgment cards. Within two weeks from the time of funeral you should acknowledge those who extended special help, sent letters or cards of sympathy sent flowers, or made contributions to designated charities. It is also proper to acknowledge all that may have done special favors, the pallbearers and others. We will provide for you boxes of acknowledgement cards.
  3. Be prepared to receive a number of letters and phone calls for the deceased, which may continue for some time after death. Do not let these upset you, remembering that these people are making an unintentional mistake.
  4. Meet with attorney to commence probate proceeding. Provide the attorney with a copy of the will and certified copy of death certificate. If a properly prepared will exists, the executor named is authorized to make the necessary distributions. This can only be done after the will has been submitted for probate, and letters testamentary are received from your court. If there is no will, an appointed administrator will distribute all property according to your local laws. If there should be any questions regarding estates, please consult your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, we have worked with and have recommended for many years, Joseph P. McGowan, Esq. His office location is 701 Lakeside Park, Southampton, PA 18966.  You can contact his office at 215-338-2800.

    Another prestigious law firm we also recommend would be Williams & Scheetz Law Office located at 935 Second Street Pike, Richboro, PA 18954. You can contact their office at 215-322-6868 or www.wslawpa.com.
  5. Notify insurance companies and file claims when applicable. Your insurance representative will be able to answer any questions you may have.
    • Life Insurance
    • Medical, Health, Disability, Travel and Accident Insurance
    • Pension Benefits
    • Homeowners Insurance
    • Notify employer of decedent
  6. Change information regarding automobiles.
    • Transfer vehicle title
    • Change auto insurance
    • Return Driver's License
  7. Apply for appropriate benefits when applicable.
    • Social Security Benefits -We will notify Social Security of the death
    • Veteran's Burial and Survivor Benefits -We will explain these at the arrangement conference and help you apply for these benefits
    • Worker's Compensation Benefits
  8. Notify Stockbrokers.
    • Change ownership of jointly- or solely-owned stocks
    • Cancel any open orders arranged by the deceased
  9. Notify Banks.
    • Change all jointly held accounts and correct tax identification numbers (usually Social Security numbers)
    • Cancel direct deposit of retirement benefit payments
    • Re-establish title of safe deposit box
    • Re-establish outstanding mortgages, personal notes, etc.
    • Apply for all credit life insurance which may exist

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Monuments and Memorials

A monument or marker can be installed at the cemetery as soon as time permits. Many different styles are available, and it is wise to take your time in making your selection. We will give you guidance with a memorial purchase or engraving the existing monument by offering to you information about the monument company we trust and recommend.

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Below are accommodations that we have provided as a suggestion should you require them.


Holiday Inn
3327 Street Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
Phone: 215-639-9100

Hampton Inn & Suites Newtown
1000 Stony Hill Road
Yardley, PA 19067
Phone: 215-860-1700

Radisson Hotel - Philadelphia - Northeast
2400 Old Lincoln Highway
Trevose, PA 19053
Phone: 215-638-8300

Courtyard by Marriott
3280 Tillman Drive
Bensalem, PA 19020
Phone: 215-604-9900

Holiday Inn Express & Suites
240 Veterans Way
Warminster, PA 18974
Phone: 215-443-4300

Home2 Suites by Hilton
230 Veterans Way
Warminster, PA 18974
Phone: 215-259-6320

Hampton Inn & Suites
3660 Street Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
Phone: 1-855-605-0317

Sleep Inn & Suites
3427 Street Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
Phone: 215-244-2300

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There are numerous florists located near our two locations. Please contact us and we will offer suggestions of several florists in our area.

Additionally, you may visit our Tribute Store to express your sympathy.

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Etiquette Tips


Funeral Etiquette

We've put together a short guide to help you pay your respects with courtesy.

What to Wear

What to Wear

Try to find out the dress code before you attend, so that you can be sure you’ll dress appropriately. If you aren't sure, simply try to dress in a conservative way that shows respect for the family and other mourners. For men, a suit and a conservative tie is usually a safe bet. Women should generally wear a conservative dress, skirt, or pants with a tasteful blouse.

Religious & Ethnic Customs

Religious & Ethnic Customs

Traditions and customs differ among various communities, ethnic groups, and religions, and it's often helpful to ask beforehand about any special considerations. We can answer many of your questions and can point you toward resources that offer more information.

What to Say

What to Say

Express your sympathy in your own words, however it feels right to you. Kind words about the loved one who has passed are always appropriate, and a simple “I'm sorry for your loss” or “My thoughts and prayers are with you” can be meaningful and comforting for the bereaved.

Paying Respect

Paying Respect

At a service with an open casket, it's customary to show your respect by viewing the deceased and, if you wish, spending a few moments in silent prayer. The family may escort you to the casket, or you might approach on your own. Viewing the deceased is not mandatory, however, and you should do what is comfortable to you.

Signing the Register

Signing the Register

Be sure to add yourself to the register book, using your full name so that the family can identify you in the future. It's also helpful to add information about how you knew the deceased — through work, social clubs, school, etc.

Flowers & Gifts

Flowers & Gifts

Sending flowers, making a donation, or giving a memorial gift are all meaningful gestures to let the bereaved know that they are in your thoughts.

Turn Off Your phone

Turn Off Your Phone

If you choose to bring your phone into the funeral home, take a moment to make sure you've turned it off, or, at the very least, on silent or vibrate.

Cemetery Etiquette

When visiting a cemetery, these tips will help you enjoy a peaceful experience.

Follow the Rules

Follow the Rules

Most cemeteries have a sign posted near the entrance listing rules specific to the property. Follow the rules and observe any floral regulations they might have set. Make sure to follow and obey the cemetery hours.

Respect the Grave

Respect the Grave

Don't touch any monuments or headstones; this is not only disrespectful, but may cause damage to the memorials — especially older ones. Never remove anything from a gravestone, such as flowers, coins, or tributes that have been left by a family.

Be Respectful of Services & Other Mourners

Be Respectful of Services & Other Mourners

If a funeral is occurring, take care not to get in the way of processions. Respect their privacy and give them their space.

Speak Softly & Politely

Speak Softly & Politely

Be respectful to other mourners. Remember to keep your voice down when having conversations. Make sure your phone is muted or turned off.

Look After Your Children

Look After Your Children

If you bring children, make sure to keep a close eye on them and keep them from running, yelling, and playing or climbing on graves and monuments.

Don't Leave Trash Behind

Don't Leave Trash Behind

Use designated receptacles if they are provided, otherwise hang onto your trash and take it with you when you leave.

*For further questions, please contact a member of our staff.

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Campbell and Thomas Funeral Home
Dianne Campbell Thomas, F.D., Supervisor
905 2nd Street Pike, Richboro, PA 18954
Phone: (215) 322-5545 | Fax: (215) 364-2810


Dianne Campbell Thomas, FD
James P. Brady, FD
Danielle Adrienne Thomas, FD

James M. Campbell Funeral Home, Inc.
Danielle Adrienne Thomas, F.D., Supervisor
500 Benner St, Philadelphia, PA 19111
Phone: (215) 745-9009 | Fax: (215) 364-2810



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