FEMA offers up to $7,000 to pay for funerals of COVID-19 victims

Article from the Tenneessean, dated March 21,. 2021

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced this week that it will  allocate $2 billion — $7,000 per family — for COVID-19-related funeral costs starting in April.

The reimbursements are part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, both signed into law earlier this month.

The cost of a funeral service, excluding the cemetery costs, can range from about $3,200 to $5,200, depending on factors like merchandise, personalization, facility type, and more, according to industry leaders. A cremation can range from $3,200 to $4,200.

Caskets, urns, burial plots, headstones and other required costs are eligible for assistance.

Costs relating to obituaries, flowers, printed materials, catering, transporting guests to funeral services and gratuities are ineligible for assistance.

Here is an eligibility checklist for FEMA funeral cost assistance:

  • Funeral expenses were incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.
  • The death must have occurred in the U.S.
  • The death certificate must say that the cause of death was COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national or legal immigrant of the U.S., but the deceased does not need a specific legal status.

To apply for funeral cost assistance, gather the following documentation:

  • An official death certificate that shows the death was directly or indirectly related to COVID-19 and occurred in the United States.
  • Funeral expenses documents with names of the applicant and deceased, amount of funeral expenses and dates of expenses.
  • Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for funeral expenses. FEMA said it will not “duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.” 

FEMA will start accepting applications in April. FEMA funeral assistance will be provided via check or direct deposit.

Here is the link to learn more from FEMA:  https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance