FEMA assists with COVID-19 related funeral expenses

HOLT, Fla., Jan. 27, 2022—Those who incurred funeral expenses for an individual who died from COVID-19 in the United States after Jan. 20, 2020, could be eligible for funeral assistance.

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, and the more recently signed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses.

FEMA amended the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance policy last June to also assist with COVID-related deaths that occurred in the early months of the pandemic.

Reimbursement expenses include those for services and interment or cremation, such as transfer of remains, casket or urn, burial plot or cremation niche, marker or headstone, etc.

FEMA has a dedicated COVID-19 Funeral Assistance toll-free telephone line for help in completing funeral assistance applications with a representative. Multilingual services are available.

Multiple deceased individuals can be included on an application in the event someone incurred funeral expenses for more than one individual.

Additionally, if more than one person incurred funeral expenses for the same individual, a co-applicant can be included. If someone other than those named on the application also contributed to the funeral expenses, their information may be included as well.

A death certificate of the individual or individuals who passed away must state the death was caused by, may have been caused by or was likely a result of COVID-19 or COVID-19 like symptoms.

If the death certificate doesn’t include anything related to COVID-19, it may be amended by contacting the agency responsible for certifying the death. In this instance, the certificate must be accompanied by a signed statement from the original certifier of the death certificate, local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction the death occurred listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.

If the death occurred on or after May 17, 2020, the death certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19.

Those eligible for funeral assistance will receive funds by direct deposit or a check by mail.

Before calling for assistance, the following information will be needed:

  • Social Security number(s)
  • Date(s) of birth
  • Email(s)
  • Mailing address(es)
  • Contact phone numbers
  • Household annual gross income (answers do not affect eligibility)
  • Name, Social Security number, date of birth of deceased individual
  • Location, address where death occurred found on the death certificate
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies, if applicable
  • Information about other funeral assistance received such as donations or assistance from voluntary organizations, if applicable
  • Routing, checking or savings account number for direct deposit, if applicable

If all the information above is on hand prior to calling, the application process will take about 20 minutes, according to the FEMA website.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline

  • 844-684-6333
  • Monday-Friday
  • 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST

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