The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a new program last week to ease some of the stress and financial burden wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.
FEMA said it is working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways it can best provide the assistance, and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities. FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April.
FEMA said it will release further instruction to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, the agency encourages people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses to keep and gather documentation.
Those eligible for funeral assistance must meet the following conditions:
• The death must have occurred in the United States, including 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 Jan. 20, 2020.
• There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
How to Apply
In April, FEMA will begin accepting applications. Those with COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged 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 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. FEMA is not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies or other sources.