WASHINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for families who have lost loved ones to the virus. Those who need help paying for funeral costs could be eligible for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
As part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan, FEMA said in a post on its website that the agency will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus," FEMA said on its website.
Details are still being finalized for the application process, but FEMA says the program will start in April, so the application process will begin soon. Here's what the agency has said so far.
Who is Eligible
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 applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 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
If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, FEMA says you should keep and gather documentation for the application process next month. 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.
- 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.
FEMA says they are also working to set up a toll-free phone line for people in need of funeral help.
Keep an eye on FEMA's website for additional details about applying for funeral assistance.