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06.30.21

FEMA Funeral Assistance Program for COVID-19

BY Nicole A. Place

On March 24, 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it would be assisting with funeral costs related to coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths incurred after January 20, 2020. The policy was further amended on June 29, 2021.

Eligibility

To be eligible, the decedent must have died in the U.S. and the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

Only one application per decedent should be made; therefore, you should wait to apply until all possible expenses have been determined. If multiple individuals have incurred expenses for the same decedent, they should submit one application as co-applicants.

Benefits

Applicants are entitled to up to $9,000 per deceased individual or $35,500 per application, in the case of multiple deceased individuals.

Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to: the transportation costs of up to two individuals to identify the decedent, 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 the funeral home equipment or staff, internment, costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates, and additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances.

Any expenses paid prior to January 20, 2020, are not eligible for reimbursement (i.e., pre-paid funeral plan/accounts, pre-paid burial plots, Medicaid trust account). Any other government assistance that the decedent may be entitled to (i.e., military burial benefits) must be applied first against any funeral expenses.

Applications

In order to begin the application process, you will need to call and speak to a representative at 844-684-6333. This process takes approximately 20 minutes. The representative will assign an application number for your use in submitting the required documentation online, via fax, or via mail.

To begin the process, you should have ready the annual household income of the applicant(s), the social security number of the applicant(s) and decedent, date of birth of the applicant(s) and decedent, mailing address and phone number of the applicant(s), location/address of where the decedent died, information regarding any funeral or burial policies or any other assistance to which the decedent may be entitled, and the routing and account number for direct deposit of the reimbursement.

It is not required that the funeral actually be paid at the time of the application.

Documentation

Required documentation includes an official death certificate (if death occurred after May 16, 2020, COVID-19 must be listed as a factor contributing toward death); 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 stating that COVID-19 was a cause or contributor to death (for deaths between January 20, 2020, and May 16, 2020, where the death certificate does not list COVID-19 as a factor), itemized proof of the expense(s) showing the applicant’s or applicants’ name(s), the decedent’s name, the amount, and the date of the expense.

More information can be found on FEMA’s website.

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Author

Nicole A. Place

Paralegal

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