6/29/21 Update: FEMA has amended the policy to include some unconfirmed COVID deaths. “Applicants who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020, will be able to submit a death certificate that does not attribute the death to COVID-19 along with a signed statement from the certifying official listed on the death certificate, coroner, or medical examiner linking the death to COVID-19.” Read the full amendment here
For families who have lost someone due to COVID-19 last year, there may be financial assistance available to help pay for funeral expenses through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA will begin accepting applications through their dedicated call center starting Monday, April 12th.
The stimulus package passed last December called The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2020 includes $2 Billion specifically to be able to provide funding for Covid related funeral expenses.
Here’s what potential applicants need to know:
Who is Eligible to Apply for Funeral Assistance from FEMA?
There are minimal eligibility guidelines to get FEMA reimbursement for funeral expenses. The death has to be in the United States and is attributed to COVID-19. Here are the specific details from the FEMA website:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
Applying for Funeral Benefits from FEMA
Starting April 12th at 9am Eastern, FEMA will begin accepting applications on their toll-free hotline at 844-684-6333. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm Eastern Time.
In order to apply for benefits, families will need to have an official death certificate, funeral expense documents such as the invoice, and proof of funds that may have been received from other sources – like burial insurance, veterans benefits, etc.
Families can get a copy of the death certificate from the state or county vital records office. For those who no longer have documentation of funeral expenses, try requesting a copy of the invoice from the funeral home.
For further assistance or questions, contact Tharp Funeral Home at 434-237-9424.