Nearly 560,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States since the pandemic first began. Each one of those deaths left behind a grieving family with the added financial strain of funeral costs.
To help ease a bit of the financial burden for those families, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will begin accepting applications for funeral relief payments on April 12. Individual families can apply for reimbursement of funeral costs including the following:
- Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual
- 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 funeral home equipment or staff
- Cremation or interment costs
- Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates
- Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances
In order to qualify for assistance, applicants will have to show proof of the following:
- The death occurred within the United States;
- COVID-19 is listed as the cause of death on the death certificate;
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified non-citizen who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020—however, the deceased person does not need to meet these requirements.
Before starting an application, FEMA recommends gathering all relevant documents and proofs of purchase, such as:
- The official death certificate;
- Contract with the funeral home;
- All receipts for funeral expenses that include the names of both the applicant and the deceased person, the total of the payment, and the date of the payment;
- Proof of any funds received from other sources such as funeral insurance.
Applications for FEMA funeral assistance will be conducted by phone. Phone lines will open at 8:00 a.m. Central Time on April 12 and stay open from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time. Once applicants have gathered all of the necessary documentation, the number to call to apply is 844-684-6333 or for TTY: 800-462-7585.