The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, but for some the strain goes beyond emotional loss. Losing a loved one to COVID-19 is devastating on it’s own, but it’s even more overwhelming when it causes a financial burden.
The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) is stepping in to help families that have lost a loved one and need assistance with funeral costs. The FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program is a part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The program was created specifically to provide financial relief for families that have been financially impacted by funeral costs due to a COVID-19 related death.
Keep reading for specifics about the program and how to qualify for assistance.
What’s Included With FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program
Basically any expenses that are related to a funeral, interment or cremation can be reimbursed. The program includes but isn’t limited to:
- Transport of identify the deceased (up to two people)
- Transport of the remains
- Cremation services
- Internment costs
- Burial plot
- Cremation burial plot
- Columbarium space
- Grave marker/headstone
- Clergy/Officiant services
- Funeral ceremony arrangements
- Funeral home expenses for staff and/or equipment
- Death certificate costs
- Costs due to local or state laws
Be sure to have receipts, invoices and pay stubs for any expense that is claimed.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Eligibility Requirements
The FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program is only available to U.S. citizens, qualified aliens and non-citizen nationals who have paid for the funeral expenses of a family member that died due to COVID-19. Below are more eligibility requirements for receiving assistance.
- Funeral expenses must have been incurred after January 20, 2020.
- The death certificate must state that the individual died from COVID-19 related issues.
- The death must have occured within the U.S. or its territories.
- The applicant must be a legal citizen or qualified alien, however that requirement does not apply to the deceased.
Applying for Assistance
If you meet the eligibility requirements you can apply for financial assistance. You must call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Hotline to apply:
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Hotline
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
Monday – Friday
8am- 8pm (CST)
On the call you’ll be given an application number. Once you have that you can submit documentation to prove the financial burden and get reimbursed. If you are approved for the program you’ll receive reimbursement for qualified funeral expenses. You can choose to receive the reimbursement by check or through direct deposit.
Watch Out for Scammers
Unfortunately, there are people who prey on others when they are at their most vulnerable, and the pandemic has been no exception. FEMA is warning people to be on guard. They have received reports of unofficial individuals offering to register families for COVID-19 funeral assistance.
FEMA has sent no notifications by mail, and they do not contact people prior to registration. You will only be contacted by FEMA if you have already applied for the program.
If you are contacted by someone offering to register on your behalf don’t give them any information, including information about the deceased. Contact FEMA at 800-621-3362 to report the issue. You can also report the incident using the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.
Read through the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program FAQ more information on how to apply and what needs to be provided to receive assistance.
If you need help arranging end of life services the Green Cremation Texas team is here to help. We’re available seven days a week 24 hours a day to take your call, email or text.