LOS ANGELES - FEMA announced it will provide financial help to loved ones who had to pay for funerals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money will be available to reimburse COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
The agency announced Wednesday it will cover up to $9,000 per funeral and that the application for reimbursement will open on Monday, April 12, 2021.
"At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters," said acting FEMA administrator Bob Fenton. "The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate."
According to FEMA, this assistance is under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, ainto law under the Biden Administration.
Who is eligible for funeral assistance?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, the death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
In addition, the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
While the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien, there is no requirement for the deceased person to have been.
An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
What is required to apply for funeral assistance?
FEMA says additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.
Required documentation includes 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.
Applicants must also show funeral expense documents including any receipts or funeral home contracts. These documents should include 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, is also required.
How much money will FEMA reimburse?
The assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.
If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA says it will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual.
How are the funds received?
FEMA plans to begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance this month and will being accepting applications for funeral assistance starting Monday, April 12.
If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.
FEMA will be releasing more details soon on how to submit your application here.