WASHINGTON, D.C. – FEMA this month will begin providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, for deaths related to COVID-19 to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic, according to a FEMA news release.
“At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters,” says Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate.”
To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states:
-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.
-This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.
-Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.
800 phone number to be established
In the coming weeks, a dedicated 800 number will be established to help individuals who apply. In the meantime, potential applicants are encouraged to start gathering the following documentation:
-An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
-Funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
-Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies, or other sources.
Applications begin on April 12. For more information about this assistance, visit https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance
The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number is 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
FEMA news release provided by the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency.