FEMA to Provide Assistance with Funeral Costs for COVID-19-Related Deaths
The staff at McGuire Funeral Service want you to be aware that families that experienced the death of a loved one due to COVID-19 may be eligible for up to $9,000 in funeral assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Two pieces of legislation recently passed by Congress – the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – authorized FEMA to provide financial assistance to families that incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral and memorial services, and burial, interment or cremation. On April 12, 2021 FEMA will begin accepting applications via their dedicated Funeral Assistance Call Center at 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 9 AM – 9 PM Eastern Time, Monday – Friday. This toll free number is the only way to apply.
FEMA encourages families that may be eligible to gather the following documentation:
• An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
Applicants who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020, will be able to submit a death certificate that does not attribute the death to COVID-19 along with a signed statement from the certifying official listed on the death certificate, coroner, or medical examiner linking the death to COVID-19. The written statement must show causal pathway, or an explanation, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to the virus and should be submitted with the death certificate.
Applicants also retain the option of contacting the individual who certified the death to request a death certificate amendment if they can provide justification demonstrating the death should be attributed to COVID-19. The certifying individual’s name and address should be on the death certificate.
For deaths occurring after May 16, 2020, COVID-19 funeral assistance documentation must include a copy of a death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19.
• Funeral expense documents (e.g., receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
• Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance; financial assistance received from voluntary agencies; federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies; or other sources.
If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant(s). Applicants can also apply for assistance for more than one individual who died.
While families can apply for assistance at any time, if they do wish to have a memorial service when it is safe to do so, FEMA recommends waiting until after all services have been contracted to avoid the hassle of amending an initial application.
The FEMA website has complete information about eligibility requirements, documentation applicants will be required to provide, and how to start the application process. Visit https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance
Families may wish to visit RememberingALife.com, for “Planning a Service in the Future - Free Planning Guide” for ideas on how you can honor a loved one and other information that may be useful as you continue your grief journey.