Family members who lost someone to COVID-19 might be eligible for funeral expense assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Assistance is limited to $9,000 per funeral.
FEMA announced that on April 12 it would begin accepting applications for COVID funeral assistance. Eligibility for the program is for U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals or qualified aliens, excluding tourists, students and holders of temporary work visas, who paid for funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020, for an individual who died in the United States
The deceased’s death certificate must list COVID-19 or complications from COVID-19 as the cause of death.
The only way to apply is by telephone at 844-684-6333. The TTY number is 800-462-7585. Both numbers are toll free.
The call should only take about 20 minutes once you are connected with a representative. Due to high call volumes, it might be necessary for you to call multiple times before being connected. Gather all related information and documentation before making the phone call, FEMA says.
Visit fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance for a full list of documents needed to file an application and for more information.
At the end of the call, callers will be given an application number. The next step is to provide all of the needed documents to FEMA. The documents can be uploaded to disasterassistance.gov, faxed to 855-261-3452 or mailed to P.O. Box 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782.
A funeral home is not eligible to apply on behalf of a family, or even be a co-applicant on the application. The applicant must be the individual who incurred the funeral expenses.
The COVID-19 funeral assistance program will cover an array of expenses related to funeral services and interment or cremation, including casket or urn; burial plot or cremation niche, marker or headstone; cremation or interment costs; death certificate costs; funeral home expenses; clergy or officiant services; transfer of remains and transportation for up to two people who identified the deceased. Other expenses mandated by local or state governments also will be covered.
Funerals that were pre-planned or pre-paid are not eligible for reimbursement, even if COVID was the cause of death. There is no deadline to apply for funeral assistance, but one may be created in the future and, if so, FEMA will announce that.
If an applicant is denied and wants to appeal, they can do so within 60 days of receiving the decision letter. Full instructions on how to file an appeal will be included with the denial letter.
After receiving a decision, checks will be mailed or money directly deposited, depending on the applicant’s choice at the time of application.