Families with unpaid funeral expenses for a loved one who died from COVID-19 related causes may be eligible to have those expenses paid by a federal program.
The program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is available starting today, Monday, April 12.
This is not a reimbursement program. If funeral expenses have already been paid by insurance, payment from family resources, payment by donations or from other sources, payment cannot be claimed.
This program is only for funeral expenses that have not been paid.
The phone number to call for assistance in filing an application is 844-684-6333.
As of late afternoon, April 12, the high number of calls to the FEMA number was making it difficult for calls to get through. Callers were urged to call later. There is no deadline to claim the benefits.
The following information is taken directly from the FEMA website:
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:
- 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.
- Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes 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. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources
People are warned against being contacted by individuals offering to help them claim the benefit. The FEMA website has this warning:
Fraud Alert: We have received reports of scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance. FEMA has not sent any such notifications and we do not contact people before they register for assistance.
The FEMA website for these purposes is:
FEMA also provides an instructive video regarding this program. It can be reached by clicking this link:
COVID-19, FEMA, funeral expenses, Northeast MS news