FEMA offering help with COVID-19 funeral expenses

Published 7:10 pm Friday, April 23, 2021

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering financial assistance with funeral expenses for deaths related to COVID-19.

FEMA began accepting applications for aid April 12 for expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020. To apply, call 1-844-684-6333 or 1-800-462-7585 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time.

“We appreciate the partnership with FEMA as the Commonwealth of Virginia continues to assist its residents that have been financially impacted by the pandemic,” said Virginia Department of Emergency Management State Coordinator Curtis Brown. “These Funeral Assistance funds will help ease some of the financial burden incurred from a tragic COVID-19 death.”

To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20 last year for a death attributed to COVID-19. If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual.

An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals. The COVID-19-related deaths must have occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. FEMA is offering a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application. The assistance is intended to help with expenses for funeral services, interment or cremation.

Applicants will need to provide the following information when they call FEMA to register for assistance:

  • Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individuals
  • Date of birth for the applicant and deceased individuals
  • Current mailing address and phone number for the applicant
  • Location or address where the deceased individual passed away
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
  • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations
  • CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations
  • Routing and bank account numbers for the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requesting direct deposit as your payment preference)

FEMA is advising individuals with COVID-19 funeral expenses to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:

  • 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. Families and/or applicants for funeral assistance who believe a death was due to COVID-19, but was not certified as such, should be referred to the person who certified the death. This person is responsible for any amendments.
  • 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. FEMA is not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources. Pre-paid expenses such as the pre-purchase of a plot or other items are not eligible for reimbursement.

Inquiries directly related to obtaining a copy of a death certificate in Virginia or questions about how to request an amendment to a death certificate can call 877-829-4682.

More information on FEMA’s COVID-19 funeral assistance is available at: https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.