If you have lost a loved one to COVID-19, the federal government is offering to help pay for some funeral expenses.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is now providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, for deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation. A maximum of $9,000 in assistance per funeral and $35,500 per application is available.
In order to qualify, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020, for a death attributed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. In addition, FEMA says:
- 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 death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
To apply for aid, call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line at 844-684-6333 (teletypewriter: 800-462-7585) between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.
FEMA suggests that you have several documents available before you call. They include:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the U.S.
- Funeral expense documents, including receipts and a funeral home contract. These must include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
- Proof of any funds received from other sources that were used specifically to pay funeral costs, as the FEMA assistance cannot duplicate benefits received from insurance, or financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government programs or agencies, or other sources.
Bob Fenton, acting FEMA administrator, says the government’s offer to assist with funeral costs fits in well with FEMA’s mission:
“At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate.”
For more on COVID-19, check out:
- “7 Things to Avoid After Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine“
- “How to Use Your COVID-19 Mask to Get a Tax Break“