At the beginning of the coronavirus scare, we were naive. Like many baby boomers, my husband and I didn’t know anybody who was sick with COVID-19, much less had died from it.
Fast forward one year, and oh boy, has that conversation changed. We now know many who have become ill from the virus, with symptoms ranging from hardly noticeable, to still can’t smell or taste, to lengthy hospitalizations, and even death. And a friend of mine related last week that three of her aunts have passed away from COVID.
The emotional burden of these passings is tremendous, but what about the monetary cost, which adds another level of misery to this most memorable time.
So I was thrilled to receive news from my friend Rebecca Prouty at Always Best Care announcing COVID-19 funeral assistance from FEMA. Although I was surprised to see this bulletin, funeral and burial expenses are among the many assistance programs FEMA has routinely made available to individuals as a result of a disaster.
I’m providing a summary of the requirements and details for this reimbursement program, which began yesterday, April 12. Please pass this information along to anybody who might benefit from this assistance.
Here is an excerpt from a recent press release:
(NOTE: FEMA is doing the applications ON THE PHONE, not online.)
“At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters,” said Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate.”
To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance:
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
- If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual.
- An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
- The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
- This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.
- Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.
Potential applicants are encouraged to start gathering the following documentation:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
- Funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
- Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies, or other sources.
FEMA began accepting applications for Funeral Assistance on Monday, April 12, 2021, through their dedicated call center.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time
You will be able to call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get an application completed with help from FEMA’s representatives.
- No online applications will be accepted.
- Multilingual services will be available.
For more information about this assistance, visit COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | FEMA.gov.
And for information to help fortify your body against illness, reach out to me. We’ll see if any of my programs might keep you or a loved one stay strong and healthy!