COVID-19 Funeral Assistance from the Federal Government
February 22, 2022
Many of us have lost or know people who have lost family and friends to COVID-19. The last two years have been unlike any other we have known, and we wanted to share some potentially valuable information with you.
If you lost someone and paid for the funeral, there is a federally funded program that may reimburse you. This needs-blind funeral assistance program is being administered by FEMA under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
To qualify for a reimbursement of up to $9,000, you must be a U.S. citizen (or non-citizen national or qualified alien) who since January 20, 2020 incurred funeral expenses (including funeral services, cremation, interment, casket, clergy or officiant services and possibly travel) for an individual whose COVID-related death occurred in the United States (or its territories or the District of Columbia).
The person who incurred the funeral expenses needs to call FEMA’s Funeral Assistance Hotline at 844-684-6333 to apply for reimbursement. Funeral homes cannot apply on your behalf, and you cannot apply online. The call should last about 20 minutes.
During the call, the applicant will need to provide:
- Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual
- Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
- Current mailing address for the applicant
- Current telephone number for the applicant
- Location or address where the individual died
- Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
- Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations, CARES Act grants, and assistance from voluntary organizations
- Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account for direct deposit (optional)
Never provide this information in response to an unsolicited call or email purportedly from FEMA or anyone else.
Following the call, you will need to submit:
- The death certificate
- Proof that the death was either directly or indirectly related to COVID-19. This proof will be included on death certificates on or after May 17, 2020. Earlier death certificates will also require a coroner or medical examiner’s signed statement.
- Receipts for covered expenses
- Proof of funds received from other sources designed to cover funeral costs (to avoid reimbursement duplication)
Visit FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance page at: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance for more information. Helpful FAQs and other resources can be found at the bottom of the FEMA page.
Unfortunately, this is very close to home for many of us. The intent behind this program is clear and we encourage our clients, family and friends impacted to take advantage of it. Feel free to forward this and call us with any questions.