Veterans life insurance

Four Resources on Funeral Expenses You May Not Know About

Second in a series

When a loved one dies, funding the suite can be an added burden on top of the loss. The National Funeral Directors Association reports that the median cost of an adult funeral in 2021 was $7,848, a cost that does not include cemetery plots, funeral staff or headstones. In the Minnesota area, the median cost of an adult funeral with viewing and ceremony followed by burial is $8,500.

Funeral directors recommend planning for the death in advance with a life insurance policy or by prepaying burial or cremation costs. People can also designate beneficiaries so that their property or funds can be used to cover their funeral.

Related story: Parting Gift: End-of-Life Planning Eases Family Burdens

For many, however, death is unexpected. Memorial funds are one of the top crowdfunding causes, but there are a few other resources people can turn to for additional help.

Below is a non-exhaustive guide to available funeral assistance. Note that some programs only offer reimbursements, while others require pre-approval of funeral expenses.

Most programs require people to exhaust all other resources (available assets, car insurance, Medicaid, workers’ compensation, etc.) before receiving assistance.

1. FEMA: COVID-Related Deaths

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing funeral assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred beginning January 20, 2020.

The New York Times recently reported that the national government program is underutilized. “More than 900,000 COVID-related deaths have been reported in the United States, but less than half have been claimed, according to FEMA data,” reads a February 11 article.

In Minnesota, where the Minnesota Department of Health reports more than 11,797 COVID-related deaths as of Feb. 11, less than half have started claims.

To receive assistance, you must make a request by telephone with the documentation. FEMA estimates this to be a 20 minute process. Multilingual services are available.

Type: Reimbursement of expenses incurred

Rising: Up to $9,000 per deceased person (max. $35,500 per request)

Eligibility: COVID-related death; the applicant is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen, or qualified alien

How to register: Call the helpline 844-684-6333


2. County Assistance: Variable Guidelines

Minnesota law requires counties to provide residency-based funeral assistance for those who have died without sufficient means. Counties have different eligibility guidelines. Many have income limits and only cover basic services. Contact your county office for more information.

Summary of programs in the Twin Cities 7 Counties Subway:


Type: Pre-approval of expenses (exceptions for religious traditions requiring immediate burial)

Rising: Up to $2,810 for the traditional burial of an adult

Eligibility: Residence; household income at or below 150% of the federal poverty income guideline; must apply within 30 days of notification of death

How to register: Submit the completed application by fax, mail or e-mail. You can also make an appointment for an in-person interview.

Website: fund


Type: Pre-approval of expenses

Rising: Up to $3,600 for a traditional burial

Eligibility: Residence; household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level

How to register: Submit completed application to Carver County Health and Human Services



Type: Payments made directly to a funeral home or cemetery

Amount: N/A

Eligibility: Residence; requests for assistance must be received within 60 days of the date of death

How to register: Call Dakota County Community Services Division, 651-554-5611



Type: Pre-approval of expenses (exceptions for religious traditions requiring immediate burial and others on a case-by-case basis)

Rising: Up to $3,000

Eligibility: Residence; household income 275% of federal poverty level; burial costs less than $4,400; application must be submitted within 14 days of death or notification of death

How to register: Submit completed application by fax or mail



Type: Pre-approval of expenses

Rising: N / A

Eligibility: Residence; request received within 30 days of death or notification of death

How to register: Call Ramsey County Funeral Assistance, 651-266-3645

Website: N / A


Type: Pre-approval of expenses

Rising: Up to $4,678 for cremation

Eligibility: Residence

How to register: Call Scott County Health and Human Services, 952-496-8686



Type: Pre-approval of expenses

Rising: Up to $2,076 for a traditional burial

Eligibility: Residence

How to register: Call Washington County Community Services, 651-430-6455


3. Benefits for veterans

U.S. veterans may be eligible for funeral assistance in addition to plots in state or national cemeteries, a headstone or marker, and an American flag.

Because each veteran’s situation is unique, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs recommends veterans and their loved ones contact their local county Veterans Services Office (CVSO) to determine what benefits are available to them.

Some counties, such as Ramsey County, also have plots set aside exclusively for veterans and their spouses so they can be buried in local cemeteries, if interested.

To learn about local parcels and other benefits, find your CVSO here:

Type: Refund

Rising: The burial benefit for a non-service-related death is $300 and $2,000 for a military-related death. Burial and land allowance varies based on date of death, service-related death, and VA hospitalization at time of death.

Eligibility: Contact CVSO to determine

How to register: Apply online or post an application


4. Minnesota Crime Reparations Board: Victims of Violent Crimes

Established in 1974, this state program provides financial assistance to victims and their families “for losses incurred as a result of a crime,” according to its website.

In addition to funeral assistance, the program covers expenses such as mental health counselling, childcare and household services, lost wages, crime scene cleanup and financial support for dependents. of a homicide victim. Claims for damages are allowed up to $50,000 on behalf of a victim.

Type: Pre-authorization and reimbursement

Rising: Up to $7,500 for funeral and related expenses, plus an additional $1,000 for the purchase of a headstone.

Eligibility: family members, guardians and/or person who paid the funeral expenses of victims of violent crimes; a crime took place in Minnesota and was reported to the police within 30 days; the application must be filed within three years

How to register: Apply via an online portal or submit the completed application form by post, fax or email