The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has begun providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19). This was made available to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic. This video provides an overview of the program with more information below.
To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states:
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
- If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA 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.
- An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
- The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
- This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.
- Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.
Who can apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?
You may qualify if:
- You are a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020, and
- The funeral expenses were for an individual whose death in the United States, territories or the District of Columbia, may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19.
Who cannot apply?
- A minor child cannot apply on behalf of an adult who is not a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
- There are several categories of aliens lawfully present in the U.S. who are not eligible for FEMA’s Individual and Households Program assistance, including funeral assistance. These include, but are not limited to:
- Temporary tourist visa holders
- Temporary work visa holders
- Habitual residents such as citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
How do I apply?
Call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application completed with help from FEMA's representatives. Multilingual services will be available. No online applications will be accepted.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number
Applications begin on April 12, 2021
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time
If you use a relay service, such as your videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, please provide your specific number assigned to that service. It is important that FEMA is able to contact you, and you should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.
What funeral expenses are covered?
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation. Any receipts received for expenses that are not related to funeral services will not be determined eligible expenses. Expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation typically include, but are not limited to:
- 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
- Clergy or officiant services
- Arrangement of the funeral ceremony
- Use of funeral home equipment or staff
- Cremation or interment costs
- Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates
- Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances
What information do I need to provide when I register?
The applicant responsible for COVID-19 funeral expenses will need to provide the following information below when they call FEMA to register for assistance.
- Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual
- Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
- Current mailing address for the applicant
- Current telephone number for the applicant
- Location or address where the deceased individual passed away
- Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
- Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations
- Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)
What documentation do I need?
You must provide a copy of the death certificate, proof of funeral expenses incurred, and proof of assistance received from any other source.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was caused by, “may have been caused by” or “was likely a result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia.
- COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is not available for the funeral expenses of U.S. citizens who died outside the United States.
- Documentation for expenses (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) must include the applicant’s name as the person responsible for the expense, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and that funeral expenses were incurred after January 20, 2020.
- The applicant must also provide FEMA with proof of funds received from other sources specifically used for funeral costs. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance or financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government programs or agencies, or other sources. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will be reduced by the amount of other assistance the applicant received for the same expenses.
- Life insurance proceeds are not considered a duplication of Funeral Assistance benefits.
How will I receive COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?
If you are approved for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, you will receive a check by mail or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you chose when applying for assistance.
I received a decision letter and was not approved. How do I appeal FEMA’s decision?
You have 60 days from the date of the decision letter to upload, fax or mail a written and signed letter appealing FEMA's decision.
The appeal should include the following:
- Appeal letter explaining why you think FEMA’s decision is not correct that must be signed by the applicant or a person who the applicant authorizes to act on his/her behalf.
- The appeal letter should be accompanied by supporting documentation such as death certificate, funeral service bills, or other supporting documentation.
- The appeal submission should include the following information: Applicant’s full name; FEMA application number and disaster number; and current phone number and address.
- The application number must be included on each page of the appeal submitted.
- Appeal documents may be submitted by:
- Upload through your DisasterAssistance.gov account.
- Fax to 855-261-3452.
- Mail to P.O. BOX 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782
Please refer to the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance letter received for more information. Some decision letters do not require an appeal letter, so please read closely the specific letter you received identifying any documentation you must provide. You may also receive a call from FEMA providing further detail or you may choose to call FEMA if you need further clarification on the materials you need to provide.
For more information on Funeral Assistance visit the Funeral Assistancen FAQ page on the FEMA website at the link below:
More Information/Funeral Assistance FAQ