Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
FEMA will begin accepting applications for Funeral Assistance on Monday, April 12, 2021, through their dedicated call center at 844-684-6333, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (ET).
How to Apply
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number
Applications begin on April 12, 2021
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time
FEMA Funeral Assistance FAQs
FEMA is providing up to $9,000 in funeral assistance to families who have incurred COVID-19- related funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. This FAQ document below will help you understand how this program works.
Q: Some families chose cremation instead of burial. Does this program cover those costs, or is the program limited specifically to funerals?
A: Cremation costs are indeed eligible. FEMA Funeral Assistance covers expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation. Eligible services include a wide range of funeral-related services, such as transportation of up to two people for identification; 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; interment; costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates; and additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances.
Q: What documentation do families need to apply for assistance?
A: Applicants need three types of documentation: 1. An official death certificate attributing the death, directly or indirectly, to COVID19. A death certificate stating the death “may have been caused by” or was “likely the result of” COVID-19 is sufficient.
- Proof of funeral expenses. Provide written receipts and/or their contract with your funeral home. Make sure the documentation includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the date(s) the funeral expenses happened.
- If the family received funds specifically for funeral costs, these must be disclosed. The family should provide proof of any burial or funeral insurance, government burial benefits, etc. if applicable. The FEMA benefit will be reduced by the amount of such outside benefits. **NOTE: FEMA does not consider life insurance proceeds, death gratuities, or other forms of assistance not specifically intended to defray funeral costs as a duplication of benefit.
Q: Which families are qualified to receive FEMA burial benefits?
A: Families qualify to receive benefits if the following conditions are met:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- The death must be attributed to COVID-19 on the death certificate.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. (The deceased person need not meet these requirements – just the person applying for the FEMA benefit.).
Q: How much is the FEMA death benefit? Does it cover the entire cost or just a percentage of the overall cost?
A: Eligible funeral expenses may be reimbursed at 100 percent of cost, up to $9,000. Only one person may apply for the FEMA benefit per COVID-19-related funeral.
Q: My family had two family members die from COVID. Can they receive the burial benefit for both?
A: Yes. Families who have suffered more than one COVID-related death may be eligible for FEMA assistance in the full amount of $9,000 for EACH funeral, up to a maximum of $35,500.
Q: Several family members banded together to pay for the deceased’s funeral service. Can they all receive reimbursement?
A: Yes – but they must only submit ONE application. FEMA will award Funeral Assistance to a single registration for each decedent. If multiple individuals contributed to funeral expenses, they should be listed as co-applicants on a single registration. If multiple parties apply, the first applicant that submits all required documentation will be awarded the Funeral Assistance for the decedent – and the others will not be eligible for reimbursement.
Q: How will the applicant receive funds from FEMA?
A: Qualified applicants may elect to receive a check by mail or funds by direct deposit. The funds will not be sent directly to the funeral home.