The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly difficult for all Americans, but even more so for those who lost a loved one to the virus. The unexpected and sometimes sudden loss of a loved one has placed a heavy burden on many thousands of Americans.
FEMA is offering help through the establishment of the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program. This new program allows eligible funeral expenses to be reimbursed directly to the loved ones who incurred those expenses. Individuals who apply may receive up to $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 for multiple funerals that occurred within the same state or territory. The sooner people with eligible expenses begin their application, the sooner they can receive their reimbursement.
“When people think of FEMA’s role in the COVID-19 response, they often think of the work we have done to get shots in arms. That is an important and ongoing mission, but there are other ways we offer support,” said FEMA Region 3 Acting Regional Administrator Janice Barlow. “Our hearts go out to those grieving the loss of a loved one to COVID-19. We hope that, through our Funeral Assistance Program, FEMA can help ease some of that burden.”
One of the most important steps for individuals interested in applying is to first understand the program’s eligibility and documentation requirements.
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
- 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 person applying on behalf of the deceased individual must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to gather the following documentation and have it ready when you start your application:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
- Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources
The program does reimburse eligible expenses; however, patience is encouraged upon submitting your application. It can take several weeks from the time all the necessary documentation has been collected for the funds to be disbursed. The best way to reduce the wait and speed up the process is to be prepared with all of the required paperwork when you start the process. After you apply, stay tuned for any communications from FEMA as there may be follow-up questions needed to continue processing the application.
How to Apply: Call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application completed with help from FEMA’s representatives. Multilingual services will be available.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number: Applications began on Apr. 12, 2021. 844-684-6333 / TTY: 800-462-7585.
Hours of Operation are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
If you use a relay service, such as your videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, please provide your specific number assigned to that service. It is important that FEMA is able to contact you, and you should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.