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

Funerals can get expensive. The average cost of an adult funeral – including a coffin, corpse tour, ceremony, and funeral – was $ 7,640 in 2019, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. (Updated data is expected this summer.)

Cremations have become increasingly popular in recent years and are usually cheaper. The average cost of a “direct” cremation using a family-supplied container in 2019 was $ 2,395. (In the case of direct cremation, the body is cremated shortly after death without services such as embalming or visiting hours.)

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

Applicants should call the agency’s helpline at 844-684-6333. According to the FEMA website, online applications are not accepted. The applicant must provide the name of the deceased, the date of the funeral and documentation of the costs. According to the helpline, documents can be uploaded to a special website or sent by fax or post.

Many funeral directors raise awareness of the federal program to families, but funeral directors cannot seek help on their behalf, said Randy Anderson, president-elect of the National Funeral Directors Association, an industry group. However, directors can help provide cost documentation and copies of death certificates.

Please see the agency’s website for more details.

Eligible costs include transportation of up to two people to identify the deceased, a coffin or urn, burial ground and headstone, organization of the funeral ceremony, and costs of cremation or burial.

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

State regulators also offer information online, but most are lacking in educating consumers about their rights in organizing funerals and related services, according to a new report.

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