The COVID-19 pandemic unrivaled anything that we have seen in regards to loss.  According to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center over 500,000 people died from the pandemic in the United States. This loss comes at cost to a lot of individuals and families in how to manage the emotional as well as financial losses.

Expenses for funerals did not stop during the pandemic and often many were left wondering how they would be able to afford basic necessities with funeral expenses. If you experienced a loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic you may be eligible for reimbursement. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)- will allocate $2 billion- up to $9,000 per funeral, the maximum total an applicant may receive is $35,000 (link opens in new window) for COVID-19 related funeral expenses starting in April.

The reimbursements are part of two bills signed into law earlier in March 2021, which are the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.

Who is Eligible?

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.

How to Apply?

FEMA will be will begin accepting application in April, but will require documentation. If you have had any COVID-19 related funeral expenses, it is encouraged that you keep and gather documentation. Type of information should include:

        • 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.)
        • 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.

What Types of Expenses are eligible for assistance?

The following expenses are only some of the eligible things covered under the reimbursement by FEMA:

          • Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual
          • Transfer of remains
          • Casket or urn
          • Burial plot or cremation niche
          • Marker or headstone

For a more comprehensive list of eligible expenses click here to open the FEMA site in a new window.

How are Funds Distributed?

If you are eligible to receive assistance you will receive the funds via check or direct deposit depending on which you select at the time of application.

FEMA will publish a toll-free number here for applicants to use during the application process.  Click here to open the FEMA site in a new window.
For additional information on the reimbursement, click here to visit the FEMA website in a new window.