FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has announced that they are now providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. The funds were approved under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
COVID-19 Financial Assistance Limits
Financial 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. Applicants may receive assistance for the funeral expenses of multiple deceased individuals, provided the cause of death is attributed to COVID-19 and occurred after January 20, 2020.
Eligibility for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- 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.
Information Needed To Apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance:
- Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual
- Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
- Current mailing address for the applicant
- Current telephone number for the applicant
- Location or address where the deceased individual passed away
- Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
- Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations
- CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations
- Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)
- An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. A photocopy or electronic image of the certified death certificate is acceptable.
- Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
- Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. FEMA is not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.
How to Apply for COVID-19 Financial Assistance
FEMA has launched a dedicated, toll-free phone number to process applications for funeral assistance related to COVID-19 deaths. Multilingual services are available. There is NO online application - all applicants must call the toll-free phone number.
The application process should take about 20 minutes. It is important to gather all the necessary information and documentation listed above before applying for assistance to help process applications in a timely manner.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Phone Number
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time
There is no deadline for the applications.
Are pre-planned and pre-paid funerals eligible for reimbursement?
Any source of payment designated specifically to pay for a funeral in anticipation of a future death cannot be reimbursed under this assistance. This includes burial or funeral insurance, a pre-paid funeral contract, a pre-paid trust for funeral expenses, or an irrevocable trust for Medicaid.
However, when funeral expenses exceed the funds intended to pay these costs, FEMA may evaluate the receipts and other documentation to provide the funeral expenses not covered up to the maximum amount per funeral.
FEMA does not consider life insurance proceeds, death gratuities, or other forms of assistance not specifically intended to defray funeral costs as a duplication of benefit. Therefore, applicants who used life insurance to pay for funeral expenses can be considered for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.
Does Annual Household Income Determine Eligibility For COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?
No. Although an applicant will be asked to provide his or her household annual gross income when they apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, this is only for demographic purposes. The assistance is not income-dependent and income does not affect eligibility.