WASHINGTON D.C. (KRQE) – Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. According to FEMA, COVID-19 funeral assistance will begin in April.
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FEMA says they are currently working with stakeholder groups to get input and enlist their help with outreach to families and communities. They are in the process of setting up a dedicated toll-free phone number to apply for funeral assistance; no online applications will be accepted. Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible.
Until the assistance is fully available, FEMA recommends people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.
Who can apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to 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 person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
A minor child cannot apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance on behalf of an adult who is not a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
How do you apply?
FEMA working on setting up a dedicated toll-free phone number that can be used to apply for funeral assistance. You will be able to call this number to get an application completed with help from FEMA’s representatives.
- No online applications will be accepted.
- Multilingual services and a TTY number will be available.
Once an applicant has applied for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance and is provided an application number, they may provide supporting documentation to FEMA a few ways:
- Upload to their DisasterAssistance.gov account
- Fax documents
- Mail documents
What documentation will you need?
In April, FEMA will begin accepting applications. If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, you are encouraged to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
- Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. FEMA not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.
What funeral expenses are covered?
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation. Any receipts received for expenses that are not related to funeral services will not be determined eligible expenses. Expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation typically include, but are not limited to:
- Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual
- Transfer of remains
- Casket or urn
- Burial plot or cremation niche
- Marker or headstone
- Clergy or officiant services
- Arrangement of the funeral ceremony
- Use of funeral home equipment or staff
- Cremation or interment costs
- Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates
- Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances
How are Funds Received?
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.
Get more details on FEMA’s FAQ on COVID-19 Funeral Assitance program