Programs provide funeral assistance to residents of Tarrant County

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The national median cost for a funeral with a visitation in 2019 was $ 7,650, according to the National Funeral Home Directors Association.

This cost does not include the cost of the cemetery, gravestone, flowers for the service or an obituary.

Local and federal government agencies are able to help those in need of assistance, including veterans and those living in Tarrant County.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the average casket can cost just over $ 2,000, while others can sell for up to $ 10,000.

The FTC advises the public to keep track of possible costs when planning a funeral, which could include fees for basic services, transportation, permits, equipment, and cash advances.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing assistance to people across the country who have paid for the funerals of loved ones who have died of COVID-19.

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA has approved nearly $ 190 million in aid for 29,000 applicants across the United States until present this year.

Programs for local residents

Tarrant County is partnering with the Willed Body program at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center to help those who cannot afford to bury or cremate their loved ones.

The service is available at no cost to those who qualify.

According to Claudia Yellott, head of the Willed Body program, requests for assistance have increased since the start of the pandemic. The busiest period of the program was between October 2019 and March 2021 with a constant flow of donors and requests for assistance. The numbers started to decline for both groups from March.

People can receive help with burial for veterans, cremation for non-veterans, or donate to the Willed Body program. According to Yellott, 85% of people were interested in a donation when they asked for help.

The Willed Body program provides medical education to future healthcare professionals and conducts research.

A 24 hour phone line (817-304-3763) is available for anyone with questions or needing assistance. A person will need to be able to prove that they reside in Tarrant County and meet the income requirements.

Veterans Affairs helps families

Burial assistance can be provided to Veterans, their spouses and dependents through Veterans Affairs Canada.

Benefits may include the costs of opening and closing the burial site, perpetual care, the headstone, a funeral flag, and a presidential commemorative certificate.

Some veterans may be eligible for burial allowances which could cover burial costs, funerals, and transportation costs. A non-service burial benefit claim must be made within 2 years of the veteran’s burial or cremation. People with questions regarding funeral grants can call 800-827-1000 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Funeral benefits may still be available for loved ones who wish to bury a veteran in a private cemetery, including a gravestone, a funeral flag, and a presidential commemorative certificate.

The National Cemetery Scheduling Office verifies eligibility for burials at Virginia national cemeteries across the country. According to Veterans Affairs, a person may be eligible to be buried in a national cemetery if:

  • They are veterans who have not received a dishonorable discharge.
  • This is a member who died while on active duty, active duty in training or inactive duty for training.
  • This is the spouse or minor child of a veteran.
  • In some cases, this is the unmarried adult child dependent on a veteran.

The schedules office can be reached by phone at 800-535-1117.

FEMA pays COVID-19 funeral costs

Tarrant County Public Health reported on Wednesday that 3,531 people have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that 595,301 people have died in the United States from the disease during the pandemic, so far.

FEMA announced on June 7 that it had approved $ 18.5 million in aid to people who paid for expenses related to the COVID-19 funeral in Texas. The agency said that from Texas, 19,054 people have asked for help and 2,720 have received funds.

The agency will cover the expenses related to the funeral service, burial or cremation. A person can ask for help for more than one funeral.

The maximum amount of assistance a person can receive for a funeral is $ 9,000, while the maximum amount of assistance a request can receive per state or territory is $ 35,500.

To qualify for assistance, a person must be a U.S. citizen or legally authorized to be in the country. The expense must have occurred after January 20, 2020 for someone who most likely died of COVID-19 in the United States or its territories. Foreign students, persons holding a temporary tourist or work visa or “usual residents” are not eligible.

Applications are received by phone Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m .: 844-684-6333.

There is no deadline for submitting a funeral assistance request at this time.

Resources:

Tarrant County Burial Assistance: 817-304-3763 (24 hours).

Veterans Burial Benefits: 800-827-1000 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET).

National Cemetery Planning Office: 800-535-1117.

FEMA COVID-19 Burial Assistance: 844-684-6333 (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET).

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Lauren Castle is a social services reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The position is funded with assistance from the Morris Foundation. Castle reported on the Arizona legal system and criminal justice issues for The Arizona Republic. She previously worked in the television news business in Knoxville, Tenn. Castle graduated from Southern Methodist University. She was a member of the 2019 Journalism Law School Fellowship Class at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. You can send him tips by email: [email protected] or on Twitter: @lauren_castle.



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