The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 include reimbursement for funeral-related expenses up to $9,000 for those who died of Covid-19 or coronavirus-related causes after January 20, 2020.
There will be no online registration available, although once the registration is complete, applicants will be asked to upload documents to disasterassistance.gov.
FEMA announced that individuals will be able to begin applying for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance on April 12. The FEMA Funeral Assistance website has posted the following phone numbers that families can call to begin the application process.
Covid-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number:
1-844-684-6333 TTY: 800-462-7585
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT
VERY IMPORTANT: There are already reports of scammers trying to use this program to take advantage of people. THE ONLY WAY TO APPLY AT THIS TIME IS FOR YOU TO CALL THE ABOVE PHONE NUMBER – If anyone calls you asking for information, use extreme caution! FEMA Scam Warning
On its website, FEMA states, “Additional guidance is being finalized… In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.”
Funeral assistance is only available to those who incur certain funeral expenses, according to FEMA. Funeral directors are not able to apply for the funds.
Applicants may receive funeral assistance for funeral costs up to $9,000 for each COVID-19-related funeral for which they are responsible. FEMA will only be accepting one application per COVID-19-related death. If multiple people paid a funeral bill, they would need to submit one application outlining the expenses they incurred.
According to the policy, eligible funeral service expenses include, but are not limited to: transportation for up to two individuals to identify the decedent; 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; interment; costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates; and additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances.
FEMA representatives have stated that funeral expenses that are prefunded or paid for with funeral insurance are not eligible for reimbursement. Expenses that were paid for through life-insurance proceeds, however, are eligible.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, families 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
Nancy Casper, CEM Covid-19 Funeral Assistance Task Force, FEMA also said families that delayed holding services because of the pandemic and plan on holding a gathering in the future should wait until all expenses have been incurred before applying for the assistance.
How to Apply
Families who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and/or gather the following documentation:
– 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 were incurred
– 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 source.
If you need a copy of your final statement, please contact us at (732)254-9393, or use the Contact link at the bottom of this page.
If you need additional certified copies of the Death Certificate, we can also assist – please be aware that the state charges for additional copies.
How are Funds Received
FEMA says eligible individuals will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option is selected when the application is submitted.
More Information Coming
FEMA is producing an instructional video that will explain the process for applicants. It will be uploaded to YouTube, according to FEMA representatives.