MARCH 24, 2021 - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced a program which will reimburse families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 since January 20, 2020 up to $9,000.00 for certain expenses related to funeral services. Once the guidance from FEMA has been finalized, we will be reaching out to families we have served who meet the eligibility requirements to receive the reimbursement and explain the procedures on how to apply. Below is information given to us by FEMA about the program. For more information, you may visit https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/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.
How to Apply
FEMA will begin accepting applications via an 800 number that will be set up in early April. If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:
- Only one applicant per deceased may apply. If multiple individuals contributed funds towards expenses, they may be co-applicants with the primary applicant.
- 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 includes 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 is not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, prepaid burial accounts, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources, so those types of funding will not be reimbursed. If a family has used an individual life insurance policy(ies), they are not being considered as a duplication of benefits, and will be reimbursed.
- If services will be held at a later date, applicants should wait until after the service has occurred to apply. The program does not have an end date as of right now.
Funeral Expenses Covered by Program
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
The applicant responsible for COVID-19 funeral expenses will need to provide the following information below when they call FEMA to register for assistance. We recommend gathering this information now as we prepare to open the application process.
- Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual
- Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
- Current mailing address for the applicant
- Current telephone number for the applicant
- Location or address where the deceased individual passed away
- Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
- Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations
- CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations
- Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)
You must provide a copy of the death certificate, proof of funeral expenses incurred, and proof of assistance received from any other source.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was caused by, “may have been caused by” or “was likely a result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia.
- COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is not available for the funeral expenses of U.S. citizens who died outside the United States.
- Documentation for expenses (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) must include the applicant’s name as the person responsible for the expense, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and that funeral expenses were incurred after January 20, 2020.
- The applicant must also provide FEMA with proof of funds received from other sources specifically used for funeral costs. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance or financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government programs or agencies, or other sources. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will be reduced by the amount of other assistance the applicant received for the same expenses.
- Life insurance proceeds are not considered a duplication of Funeral Assistance benefits.