The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. FEMA hopes to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus by providing financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
This program is funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. FEMA will begin accepting applications for funeral assistance on Monday, April 12, 2021, through its dedicated call center.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
- 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. 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.
- 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.
How to Apply
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number
Applications begin on April 12, 2021
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time
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 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 those 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.
How Funds are Received
Reimbursements will vary, and some families will not receive reimbursement at all. The intention behind the fund is to assist families who were unable to pay for funeral expenses or took a hard financial hit doing so. 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.
Your funeral provider can assist you with the process. “Now that families are able to apply for reimbursement for COVID-19-related deaths, we want to help those families through the application process so that they can receive financial relief. We’re grateful to be able to help our families in that way,” said Carl Lambert, owner of Lambert Funeral Home, who offered to answer questions about the program for any member of the community regardless of where they received funeral service. He also pointed out that families who were unable to have a full service because of COVID restrictions at the time of their loved one’s death, can plan that service now and still request reimbursement.
To review a list of frequently asked questions about the FEMA COVID-related funeral expense assistance fund click here.