FEMA to Help Pay Funeral Costs for COVID-Related Deaths

Families who lost a loved one due to COVID-19 after Jan. 20, 2020, may qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA will award a maximum of $9,000 for funeral expenses with a maximum of $35,500 per application.

To be eligible, the FEMA policy requires that:

  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
  • If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual.
  • An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
  • The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States (including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia).
  • Funeral assistance is intended to help with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.

FEMA will begin accepting applications on April 12.

Families can call 844-684-6333 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT.

Applicants will need 3 kinds of documents:

  • 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 expense 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 those 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, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

A note of caution: FEMA warns scammers have been contacting families offering to help register them and asking them for personal information. FEMA does not contact families prior to registration. Look on the FEMA website for details on what to do if contacted by a suspicious caller.

Three important things to know:

  • No deadline has yet been set for applications.
  • No online applications are being accepted.
  • Multilingual help is available for applicants.

To learn more about the COVID-19 funeral assistance program, see FEMAs FAQ page. There you will find additional information about the application process, rules and limits of the funding program.

There is also mental health help available to families through the Disaster Distress hotline: 800-985-5990 and the Virtual Family Assistance Center: 833-492-0094.

FEMA says it is dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus as part of its mission helping people before, during and after disasters.

Photo by Tim Mossholder

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