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Have you lost a loved one due to COVID-19 in Mississippi? Here's how FEMA can help cover funeral costs

FEMA said since launching the program to cover COVID-related funeral expenses in 2021, they have covered over $31 million in costs for Mississippians.
Credit: WATN

PEARL, Miss — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is sending a reminder to Mississippi residents that relief for COVID-19 related funeral expenses is still available. 

FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program is open to help family members who’ve lost a loved one due to COVID-19. 

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred on or after January 20, 2020.

There have been over 11,000 COVID-19 related deaths in Mississippi, and 7,008 Mississippians have applied for funeral assistance. 

FEMA reports over $31 million in funeral assistance paid out to Mississippians who’ve lost loved ones due to the virus.

RELATED: Federal funeral assistance money available for families burying loved ones due to COVID-19

To apply, applicants must call (844) 684-6333 or TTY at (800) 462-7585. The call lines are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Central Time.

There is no online registration portal to apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance. Required documents to apply include:

  • Official death certificate that shows the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia.
  • If the death certificate was issued between January 20 and May 16, 2020, it must either 1) attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 or 2) be accompanied by a signed statement from the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.

This signed statement must provide an additional explanation or causal pathway linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to COVID-19.

  • If the death certificate occurred on or after May 17, 2020, the death certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
  • There are multiple records of documentation needed to apply. To see the necessary documentation to apply, click here.

Although there is currently no deadline to apply for this assistance, beginning in April, FEMA will place applications that have remained incomplete for 365 days in a suspended status. Suspended applicants can reactivate their application without appeal by submitting the required documents to FEMA.

RELATED: FEMA paid $1B to help cover COVID-related funeral expenses

FEMA said eligible COVID-19 Funeral Assistance expenses typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Funeral Services         
  • Cremation
  • Internment
  • Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual
  • Transfer of remains
  • Casket or Urn
  • Burial plot or cremation niche
  • Marker or headstone
  • Clergy or officiant services
  • Arrangement of the funeral ceremony
  • Use of funeral home equipment or staff
  • Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates
  • Additional expenses mandated by an applicable local or state government laws or ordinances

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