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FEMA Funeral Assistance: 5 Things You Need To Know

  • Grieving the loss of a loved one is often compounded by the stress and burden of managing funeral expenses on top of everything else you may be feeling. Now, some of the over 557,000 Americans who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 can apply for help with funeral costs through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Here’s what you need to know about the new program.


    What is happening?

    The new FEMA funeral assistance program will provide up to $9,000 to cover expenses for funeral services, memorial services, interment, cremation and cemetery expenses of those who died of COVID-19 after January 20, 2020. This is  the largest program of its type ever offered by the federal government.


    Who is eligible for funeral service assistance?

    The program is open to U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, or qualified aliens regardless of income, as long as they show documentation and have not already received similar benefits through another program.


    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.


    What is required to apply for funeral assistance?

    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, funeral home contracts, funeral services receipt, cemetery contracts, etc.  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, such as insurance, specifically for use toward funeral costs, is also required.


    How much money will FEMA reimburse?

    FEMA will provide a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application, which may list multiple funerals. In cases of multiple losses, FEMA encourages one application per household. Note, applications can only be made once so the families should make all of their purchases/ agreements before submitting


    The amount you receive may be reduced if you also received support from other sources, including insurance policies specifically designed to pay for funeral expenses. Funds will be distributed via check or direct deposit, whichever you prefer.


    Where can I apply for funeral event reimbursement?

    Visit the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance website or call the FEMA dedicated toll-free hotline (1-844-684-6333) to apply and get more information.


    If you would like GatheringUs to plan an event celebrating your loved one, while keeping FEMA documentation and guidelines in mind, we can help. The GatheringUs team can work with you to create a meaningful and personal virtual memorial service. We help with planning, facilitation, and tech support. We free you up, so you can be fully present with family and friends. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation.  


    Find more articles on planning a virtual memorial service, a funeral service, and working through grief here or create a free memorial page.

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