FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Reimbursement program is still in development but more details have been released. Here are 7 things you need to know.
Last week, we announced that FEMA was going to begin offering assistance with funeral expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at the time we created that video, very few details about the program were available… so today, we’re going to deep-dive into what the program offers, who qualifies, and how you can get that assistance.
I truly and sincerely hope that you do not need the information we are going to present in this article today… but unfortunately, I know several people who have passed away due to COVID-19 and I know that this program is desperately needed by so many.
If you have lost someone to coronavirus, please know that I am so, so sorry for your loss… and if you are fortunate enough to not need this information, please consider sharing this post with others who may need this assistance. Together, maybe we can make this terrible burden a little lighter.
What is the COVID-19 Funeral Reimbursement Program?
FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is offering up to $9,000 in assistance per funeral for those who have died due to COVID-19. These funds can be used for funeral services, interment, cremation, markers, headstones, clergy services, caskets, burial plots, urns, or other funeral-related expenses.
This program is expected to open for applications sometime in April 2021. As we previously reported, all applications will be processed over the phone and FEMA has stated that online applications will not be available for this program.
Who is eligible for COVID-19 funeral reimbursement?
In order to qualify for this program, you must meet the following criteria:
- The death must have occurred in the United States. This designation includes the US Territories and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate that the death was due to COVID-19.
- The applicant, or the person applying for the FEMA reimbursement, must be a US citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
Interestingly, the person who died does not have to be a US citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien unless the applicant is a minor child.
How do I apply for assistance?
Before you apply, it is critically important that you gather any documentation of qualifying expenses. Records are very important. You will need to have information about the deceased individual, as well as documentation of the expenses, before you apply for the COVID-19 funeral reimbursement program.
The personal information you will need includes:
- Social Security numbers for the applicant and the person who died
- Date of birth for the applicant and the person who died
- Current contact information for the applicant
- Bank account information for the applicant
You will also need additional documentation regarding the death and the funeral costs. You will need:
- An official death certificate that indicates that the death occurred in the United States and was directly or indirectly caused by COVID-19.
- Funeral expense documents that show the deceased person’s name, the date, and the amount of the expense. The documents must also list the applicant’s name as the responsible party.
- Proof of funds received from other sources, such as donations or grants from other government programs or charities. If the person who died had burial or funeral insurance policies, that information must be provided as well.
Once you have your documentation together, you will need to call FEMA’s dedicated toll-free number to apply for the COVID-19 funeral reimbursement program. In order to obtain this number, you will need to visit the official FEMA website. Multilingual services and a TTY number will be provided.
Once you have applied over the phone and you’ve been given an application number, you will be able to upload supporting documentation to your disasterassistance.gov account. You can also choose to mail or fax documents if you prefer.
Because they are only accepting applications over the phone, it is vital that you do not apply online. Scammers have already started trying to imitate the COVID-19 funeral reimbursement program, so always make sure you are on the official FEMA website at FEMA.gov.
During the application, you will be able to choose whether to receive the funds via direct deposit or a mailed check.
There are some other things you should know.
If you have lost multiple people to COVID-19, my heart goes out to you. You need to know that you can receive up to $9,000 per funeral, but there is a maximum limit of $35,500 per application.
FEMA will only provide COVID-19 funeral reimbursement to one applicant per deceased individual, and the applicant must be the one whose name is listed as the responsible party on the documentation. If multiple people helped pay for the funeral expenses, FEMA has pledged to work with applicants to figure out the situation. However, only one applicant and co-applicant can be listed per application.
The amount of reimbursement you receive may be reduced based on other assistance you’ve received. According to FEMA, “COVID-19 Funeral Assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance or financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government programs or agencies, or other sources. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will be reduced by the amount of other assistance the applicant received for the same expenses.” However, it should be noted that life insurance payouts are not considered a duplication.
At this time, no application deadline has been specified. However, FEMA has stated that a specific deadline for this program will be established in the future.
There are other supportive programs, too.
If you have lost someone, please know that you have my heartfelt condolences. I am so, so sorry for your loss.
Please know that you can always reach out to the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 for help and support. The American Red Cross is also operating a Virtual Family Assistance Center to help provide comfort, support and resource referrals to anyone who has lost someone due to the coronavirus. You can reach them online or by calling 833-492-0094.
Remember to share this article with any who may need it!