Applications now being accepted for up to $9,000 in assistance for COVID-19 funeral expenses

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will begin accepting applications Monday for up to $9,000 of funeral expenses for those who have died of the COVID-19 virus.

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“At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters,” said Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate,” Fenton said.

Who is eligible and how do you apply? Here is what you need to know about the program:

Who is eligible:

  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
  • If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual.
  • An applicant may apply on behalf of multiple deceased individuals.
  • The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
  • This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.
  • Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.

Information you need to gather:

FEMA asks that those requesting funeral assistance gather the following information to help process the claim:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
  • Funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
  • Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies, or other sources.

What funeral expenses are covered?

According to FEMA, expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation typically include, but are not limited to:

  • 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

How to sign-up for COVID-19 funeral assistance:

FEMA will begin taking applications on Monday, and will take them only by phone.

  • To sign up for the assistance, call 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. CT.

For more information:

For more information on the program, click here.