WASHINGTON D.C. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that it is going to reimburse families for COVID-19 related funeral expenses.
The funds will come out of the $2 billion it received from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.
FEMA said the funds will reimburse individuals and households for COVID-related funeral expenses incurred between Jan. 20 and Dec. 31, 2020.
The agency also said it is working with various groups to enlist their help with outreach to communities and families and that it will implement a funeral assistance program in April.
FEMA has requested anyone with COVID-related funeral expenses to keep and gather documentation.
A statement on the FEMA website said the agency’s mission is to help people.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families,” the statement read. “At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus. We are working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways we can best provide this assistance, and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities. FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April. Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.”
The website also said FEMA is in the process of setting up a dedicated toll-free phone number that can be used to apply.
To be eligible, the death must have occurred in the U.S., a death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19 and the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien.
FEMA requests people keep the official death certificate, funeral expense documents, proof of funds received from other sources and any other documentation applicable.
Applications will become available in April and if a family is deemed eligible for funeral assistance they will receive a check by mail or direct deposit, depending on what option they choose with their application.
More information can be found on FEMA’s website.