COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
For families dealing with the loss of a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic, the grief has been unbearable. In addition to the anguish that death brings, traditional funeral services have been muted because of social distancing. In the midst of their grief, families were left with unexpected funeral costs, which created a financial strain – especially on those who are out of work or laid off because of COVID-19. Help is on the way to reimburse you for funeral costs.
The federal government is stepping in to assist families who lost loved ones due to COVID-19 with funds from a coronavirus relief act passed by Congress. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans to provide funeral assistance through a nationwide program, COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, which will begin in April. The program will provide eligible families up to $9,000 per funeral. For those who lost multiple members, they can receive up to a maximum of $35,500.
Announcing the program, acting FEMA administrator Bob Fenton said in a news release, “At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. 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.”
Beginning April 12, 2021, eligible families can apply to FEMA through a dedicated call center for reimbursement of funeral costs which will help cover funeral expenses, including interment and cremation for COVID-related deaths from Jan. 20 through Dec. 31 last year.
Eligible expenses are expected to include transportation for up to two people to identify a deceased family member, transfer of remains, a casket or urn, burial plot or cremation niche, marker or headstone, clergy or officiant services and arrangement of the funeral ceremony. It also will cover use of funeral home equipment or staff.
Officials will have a toll-free phone number set up for people to apply. FEMA encourages those who might be eligible to begin gathering appropriate documentation, including funeral expense paperwork and death certificates. In order to receive money that is intended to help reimburse expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation, you must apply for it.
To be eligible,
- the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or legal permanent resident, though there is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a citizen.
- The death must have occurred after Jan. 20, 2020, in the U.S., including its territories, and have COVID-19 listed on the death certificate.
- The certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of COVID-19
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
For more information on the program, you can visit: https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance
FEMA noted it has received reports of scammers reaching out to people to register them for funeral assistance. The agency has not sent out any such notifications, officials emphasized, and does not contact people before they register for help.