The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reimbursing funeral costs for those who passed away from COVID-19. With a strong dedication to help ease some of the financial stress and burden, FEMA’s humanitarian effort is vertically aligned with their overall mission to help people in need before, during and after disasters.
Who is Eligible?
The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
However, the deceased person does not need to be a citizen but their death must have occurred in the U.S., which includes U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. The death certificate must indicate the death was caused by, or was likely the result of, COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. The coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 556,000 Americans, according to the New York Times.
“Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate,” said Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton.
On the list of reimbursable expenses:
- Funeral ceremony arrangement
- Transfer of remains
- Caskets and Urns
- Burial plots and internment costs or cremation
- Markers or headstones
- Clergy or officiant services
- Transportation of up to two individuals to identify the deceased
FEMA has limited their reimbursements to $9,000 per death. However, a single applicant can submit a claim for multiple deaths and be reimbursed up to $35,000.
If the deceased individual had burial insurance or a prepaid funeral, that amount or those items already paid for will need to be deducted from the total reimbursement request.
FEMA won’t reimburse if burial insurance – not life insurance – or a prepaid funeral had covered the cost.
Generally, FEMA Only Provides Aid to One Applicant
To be approved for reimbursement, you must have documentation showing your name as the responsible party for that cost.
However, FEMA understands that multiple individuals may have been involved and will work with applicants in those situations where there are receipts that have different names on them. The family members need to coordinate and apply under the same application.
The money comes from the economic rescue package that was passed by Congress in December and included $2 million for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund. 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.
How to Apply
First, you will need to gather an itemized list of all your costs associated with the funeral. Make sure you have receipts for everything.
As of April 12th, FEMA has a created a dedicated COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line, at 1-844-684-6333, for accepting applications. Once you have applied, you’ll need to provide your itemized list along with receipts.
The FEMA representative will give a few different options to get those items into their hands, including uploading to a website, faxing or mailing. FEMA’s website is www.fema.gov and there is a link on the main page for more information and the phone number for applications.
If you have additional questions, or need more information, I would be happy to help!