FEMA Can Help With Covid-19 Funeral Costs. Here’s What to Know.

FEMA Can Help With Covid-19 Funeral Costs. Here’s What to Know.

Funerals can be expensive. The median cost of an adult funeral — including a coffin, a viewing of the body, a ceremony and burial, was $7,640 in 2019, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. (Updated data is expected this summer.)

Cremations have been increasingly popular in recent years and are typically less expensive. The median cost of a “direct” cremation, with a container provided by the family, was $2,395 in 2019. (In a direct cremation, the body is cremated shortly after death without services like embalming or visiting hours.)

Here are some questions and answers about funerals and FEMA’s aid program:

Applicants should call the agency’s help line at 844-684-6333. According to FEMA’s website, no online applications will be accepted. Applicants must provide the name of the deceased person, the date of the funeral and documentation of the expenses. Documents can be uploaded onto a special website or sent by fax or mail, according to the help line.

Many funeral homes are making families aware of the federal program, but funeral directors cannot apply for aid on their behalf, said Randy Anderson, president-elect of the National Funeral Directors Association, an industry group. Directors can, however, help provide the documentation of costs and copies of death certificates.

More details are available on the agency’s website.

Eligible costs include transportation for up to two people to identify the deceased person, a coffin or an urn, a burial plot and headstone, arrangement of the funeral ceremony, and cremation or burial costs.

Advice is available online from the Federal Trade Commission; the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit group; and the National Funeral Directors Association.

State regulators also offer online information, but most do a lackluster job of giving consumers information about their rights when arranging funerals and related services, a new report finds.

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