COVID-19 funeral assistance now available through FEMA
WASHINGTON — Beginning Monday, April 12, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020 using the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
To be eligible for assistance, the following conditions must be met:
- the death must have occurred in the U.S., including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia
- the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to or caused by COVID-19
- the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020
- there is no requirement for the deceased to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national , or qualified alien
Expenses that qualify for reimbursement include:
- transportation for up to two people to identify the deceased
- transfer of remains, a casket, or urn
- a burial plot or cremation niche
- a marker or headstone
- clergy or officiant services
- the arrangement of a funeral ceremony
- the use of funeral home equipment or staff
- cremation or internment costs
- costs associated with producing multiple death certificates
To apply for FEMA’s assistance, call FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 1-(844)-684-6333 from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday to begin the process. Online applications are not accepted; FEMA is only accepting applications by phone and advise that the process should take around 20 minutes. The agency says they have been receiving a high volume of calls to the Helpline, and advise applicants to please try again later if their call does not connect, or if they receive a busy signal.
FEMA advises having the following information ready before you call the Helpline:
- your name, SSN, date of birth, mailing address, and contact phone numbers
- the name, SSN, and date of birth for each deceased individual
- the location or address where the deceased passed away
- documentation and receipts for any assistance already received from other sources, including burial or funeral insurance, donations, voluntary agencies, other government programs, or nonprofit organizations
- if you and another person both incurred funeral expenses for the same deceased individual(s), you can also provide that person as a co-applicant by including their name, SSN, and date of birth on the application
At this time, there is no deadline to apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance. If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.
For more information on FEMA’s Funeral Assistance Program, including more detailed eligibility requirements, visit their website here.