What You Need to Know About FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

Published 5:30 am Sunday, October 2, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the country over the last two years. Many families have struggled to see loved ones get sick and ultimately not recover. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one million people have died from COVID-19 or complications caused by the illness. While mourning the loss of a loved one, families have had to arrange the funeral and handle all costs.

To help families in this difficult time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering funeral assistance funding for people who have had to cover funeral costs for loved ones who died of COVID-19 or complications caused by COVID-19.

Do I Qualify?

You may qualify for FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance if:

  • You are a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified non-citizen.
  • The death occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
  • The death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • You are responsible for the eligible funeral expenses incurred on or after January 20, 2020.

What is Covered?

If determined eligible, you may receive up to $9,000 per deceased individual whose funeral costs you were responsible for. If you incurred funeral costs for multiple deceased individuals per state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia, you may be eligible for a maximum of $35,500 per application. Some expenses that may be eligible for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance include:

  • Funeral services
  • Cremation
  • Interment
  • Costs associated with producing death certificates
  • Costs due to local or state government laws or ordinances
  • Transportation for up to two people to identify the person who died
  • Transfer of remains
  • Casket or urn
  • Burial plot
  • Marker or headstone
  • Clergy
  • Funeral ceremony
  • Funeral home equipment or staff

What is Required?

To apply for assistance, you must provide FEMA a copy of an official death certificate that shows the death occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. The death certificate should show the death occurred after January 20, 2020 and was attributed to COVID-19. If the death certificate was issued between January 20 and May 16, 2020, it must either:

  • Attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 or
  • Be accompanied by a signed statement from the original certifier of the death certificate, or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred, listing COVID-19 as a cause, or contributing cause of death. This signed statement must provide an additional explanation or causal pathway, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to COVID-19.

You must also provide FEMA with a signed funeral home contract, invoices, receipts, or other documentation that includes:

  • Your name, showing you are responsible for some or all of the cost
  • The name of the person who died
  • Itemized expenses
  • Proof that the expenses were incurred on or after January 20, 2020.

How Do I Apply?

Visit the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance page for instructions on how to apply and what information you will need to provide. All applications are taken over the phone, and multilingual services are provided.

Questions?

If you have questions, check out the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance website for frequently asked questions. If your question is still unanswered, FEMA representatives are available by phone Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Phone numbers and other contact information is available on the FEMA Funeral Assistance website.

To see if you are eligible for any other government benefits, be sure to check out the Benefits.gov Benefit Finder Questionnaire.