Covid-19 Funeral Assistance

Posted on: April 15, 2021
The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

The federal government has opened applications for the Covid-19 Funeral Assistance Program. The program will help cover funeral costs from after January 20, 2020 for those who died from Covid.

There is no deadline to apply to the program, but you should apply as soon as possible.

Who is eligible for funeral assistance?

  • S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or qualified aliens who paid funeral expenses after January 20, 2020 for someone who died from Covid-19. The deceased did not have to be a U.S. citizen in order for their funeral expenses to be covered by the program.
  • The death must have happened in the United States, in a U.S. Territory, or in Washington D.C. Assistance is not available for the funeral expenses of U.S. citizens who died outside of the United States.
  • The death certificate must say that the death was related to Covid-19.
  • Applicants will have to show that the funeral costs were not covered by another source, such as funeral insurance, donations from volunteer or charity organizations, or other related government programs.

What costs does the program cover?

The program will reimburse up to $9,000 per funeral. (For example, if you had to pay for two funerals since January 20 for loved ones who passed due to Covid, you may be eligible to be reimbursed for up to $18,000.)

Expenses that the program will cover include:

  • Transportation for up to 2 individuals to identify the deceased
  • Transfer of remains
  • Casket/Urn
  • Burial plot/cremation niche
  • Marker/headstone
  • Clergy or officiant services
  • Arrangements for ceremony
  • Funeral home equipment or staff
  • Burial costs
  • Costs associated for producing death certificates
  • Additional expenses required by any applicable local or state laws

What documentation will I need to submit when I apply?

  • Death Certificate: The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely a result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms.
  • Proof of Funeral Expenses: Documentation (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) must include the applicant’s name as the responsible person for the expense, the deceased’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and that funeral expenses were from after January 20, 2020. The documentation must include all of the following information:
  1. The applicant’s name must be listed as the person paying;
  2. The total amount of the funeral expenses;
  3. The deceased’s name; and
  4. The date funeral expenses were paid.
  • Insurance or Other Funeral Benefits: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will not be awarded if all funeral costs were covered by funeral or burial insurance, a pre-paid funeral contract, a pre-paid trust for funeral expenses, or an irrevocable trust for Medicare, or from other funding. If you received any assistance to pay for the costs of the funeral, you will need to show documentation of what you received.

Other information you will need to submit:

  • Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Your current mailing address and telephone number
  • Location or address where the deceased individual passed away
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
  • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations
  • CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations you received
  • Routing and account number for your checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if that is your preferred payment method)

How do I apply?

You can apply by calling 844-684-6333 or 800-462-7585 from 8:00 am-8:00 pm CT. No online applications will be accepted.

The program is receiving a lot of calls, so it may take some time for you to talk to an agent.

Once you talk to an agent to complete your application, you will be given an application number.

After you get your application number, you will submit your documents by either:

  • Uploading your documents to your DisasterAssistance.gov account,
  • Faxing your documents to 855-261-3452, or
  • Mailing your documents to P.O. BOX 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782.

You cannot submit your documents until your application is complete and you have an application number.

I was responsible for funeral expenses for more than one person whose death was caused by Covid-19. Can I apply for assistance for more than one death? Is there a limit?

Applicants may receive assistance for the funeral expenses of multiple individuals.

Assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per applicant per state, territory, or the District of Columbia.

Someone else helped me pay for funeral expenses. Can they apply for the program too?

FEMA will generally only provide assistance to one applicant per deceased individual.

If more than one person helped with funeral expenses, they must register with FEMA under the same application as the applicant as a co-applicant. If not, the funds will go to the first applicant that submits all required documentation. No more than one co-applicant can be included on an application.

Can I apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance even though I’ve already applied for a recent disaster, like a hurricane?

Yes. If you recently applied for FEMA assistance for home and/or personal property damage from a disaster, you can still apply for the Funeral Assistance program, if you meet the eligibility requirements.

The death certificate doesn’t say the death was caused by Covid. Can I get the death certificate changed to include it?

It is possible to change or amend a death certificate. This process starts with contacting the person who certified the death. Their name and address is on the death certificate. You’ll likely be asked to present evidence to them to sow why the death was related to Covid.

How will I receive COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?

If you are approved assistance, you will receive a check by mail or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you chose when applying for assistance.

I received a decision letter and was not approved. How do I appeal FEMA’s decision?

You have 60 days from the date of the decision letter to upload, fax or mail a signed letter appealing FEMA's decision.

The appeal should include the following:

  • Why you think the decision is not correct.
  • Supporting documentation (i.e., death certificate, funeral expenses, or other supporting documents).
  • The application number must be included on each page of the appeal submitted.

Please be sure to review the decision letter you received for all instructions.

BEWARE OF SCAMS! FEMA will not contact you to ask for personal information unless you have applied for assistance. Do not disclose information such as the name, birth date or social security number of any deceased family member to any unsolicited telephone calls or e-mails from anyone claiming to be a federal employee or from FEMA.

If you believe you’ve been contacted by a scammer, hang up and report it to the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

 

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