FEMA to provide financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses

Agency will begin accepting COVID-19 funeral assistance applications April 12

FILE - In this May 2, 2020, file photo, siblings Erika and Dwayne Bermudez comfort one another during a short viewing of their mother, Eudiana Smith, who died of coronavirus, at The Family Funeral Home in Newark, N.J. "I was robbed of the experience of being able to celebrate her life in a manner that would offer some kind of respect for the woman she was," Erika Bermudez said. She did her best, live-streaming the ceremony to friends and family who couldn't attend. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently announced that it will provide financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.

FEMA will begin accepting applications for funeral assistance on Monday, April 12.

“Assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application per state, territory, or the District of Columbia. Applications may receive assistance for the funeral expenses of multiple deceased individuals,” read a statement on the program from Democratic Michigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence’s office.

Only those who meet the criteria to receive assistance from the program will be eligible.

Additionally, those who are eligible for funeral assistance will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option they choose when applying for assistance.

Details on the assistance program still have to be finalized.

“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,” a statement from the agency’s website read.

“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.”

How to apply

You can learn more about the program and how to apply on the agency’s website here.

The website has additional information on who is eligible and what documents are needed to apply.

You can reach out to the FEMA call center at 844-684-6333 or 800-462-7585. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Multilingual services will be available.

Potential applicants encouraged to start gathering documentation

Documentation is needed, and requirements can be found here. To find the FAQ and other info on COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, click here.

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the U. S. 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 the 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 source.

About the Author:

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.