The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has taken steps to help families affected by COVID-19 with funeral costs. This limited assistance is available to those who have lost an immediate family member due to the virus and can provide up to $9,000 per funeral.
To be eligible for FEMA’s assistance, the death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, between January 20, 2020 and the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The death must have been attributed to the virus, either through a positive test result, an inconclusive test result, or a clinically compatible illness as determined by a healthcare provider.
Applicants must provide proof of death, such as a death certificate, as well as proof of relationship to the deceased, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or other government-issued identification. The applicant must also provide proof of funds used to pay for the funeral, such as a funeral bill or receipt.
How to Apply
To apply for FEMA’s funeral assistance, applicants must complete and submit an application online at disasterassistance.gov. Applicants may also call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585).
After submitting an application, applicants will receive an email from FEMA with a personalized link to upload documents. The documents must include proof of death, proof of relationship, and proof of funds used for funeral costs. Applicants must also provide contact information for the funeral home used.
Once the application has been submitted and all documents have been verified, FEMA will determine whether the applicant is eligible for funeral assistance. If approved, the applicant will receive a direct deposit or check in the mail.
FEMA’s funeral assistance is limited to $9,000 per funeral and $35,500 per application. The assistance is not intended to cover all funeral costs, but rather to provide some relief for those who may have difficulty paying for them.
FEMA’s assistance does not cover the cost of caskets, urns, or other associated burial or cremation items. The agency also does not cover headstones or markers, flowers, honorariums, or other miscellaneous items.
Other Sources of Assistance
Families who need additional assistance with funeral costs may be able to receive additional help from other sources. Some states, counties, and cities may offer funeral assistance programs. Additionally, certain charities and religious organizations may provide financial assistance.
Families may also be able to receive assistance from their insurance provider. In some cases, life insurance policies may provide a death benefit that can be used to cover funeral costs. Additionally, some employers may provide a death benefit or other financial assistance.
FEMA’s funeral assistance program can provide up to $9,000 per funeral for those who have lost an immediate family member due to COVID-19. To be eligible for the assistance, applicants must meet certain criteria and provide documentation to prove the death, relationship, and funds used for funeral costs. Those who need additional assistance with funeral costs may be able to receive help from other sources, such as state or local programs, charitable organizations, and insurance providers.