However you look at the events of the last year, there’s undoubtedly been a duality to this pandemic. So many of us have lost someone close to us, or someone we know, and suffered the emotional grief and financial burden that comes with losing a loved one unexpectedly. But we have also seen our communities come together to take care of one another in the form of 1:1 interaction, fundraising efforts, and agency/government assistance.
As a funeral home, we understand how difficult and painful it can be to lose a loved one, and we aim to make the process as easy as possible for you. So we wanted to highlight one source of financial support that we think could be of use to you if you’re walking through this process: FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.
If you don’t already know, FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This agency was officially created in 1979 but has been working to help people before, during, and after disasters hit our communities as far back as 1803.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is now providing financial support for any COVID-19-related funeral expenses occurring after January 20th of 2020. The goal is to lift some of the financial burden by providing up to $9000 to help offset the cost of a funeral.
So who qualifies and what do you need to apply?
There are a few conditions that you have to meet to be eligible to receive the assistance.
The person who passed away must have done so inside the US, US territories, or the District of Columbia, and you must have incurred funeral expenses after January 20th, 2020.
Their death must have happened as a result of COVID-19 and that must be clearly documented on the death certificate.
Finally, you can only apply for the funeral assistance program if you are a US citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien, although it is important to note that the person who passed away does not have to have been one themselves.
What Documents Do You Need?
Before you apply, it’s important to gather all documentation related to the death and funeral of your loved one.
As previously mentioned, a death certificate that states the death as being directly or indirectly linked to COVID-19 is going to be a crucial part of the process, and you will also need to keep receipts and documentation pertaining to the funeral expenses themselves. Make sure that the applicant’s name and the deceased person’s name are on funeral home contracts and your receipts. They will also want to see the date of the funeral expenses clearly noted on the documentation.
If your loved one passed away and received funeral insurance or other financial benefits from government agencies, you will need to send in the documentation for that as well. Make sure it is clear how much money was received and what that money went towards.
It is important to note that pre-paid funeral services do not qualify for reimbursement, but life insurance policies do not count towards money you received from other sources.
How Do You Apply?
At this time, the only way to apply is via the following toll-free phone number: 844.684.6333 | TTY 800.462.7585. They are OPEN from Monday to Friday, from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm ET. Applications began on April 12th, 2021 and they have received more than one million calls to date. So if you are struggling to get through, you are encouraged to keep trying, especially since there are no stipulations regarding a timeline.
As a funeral home, we are not allowed to apply for the funding on your behalf. However, we are committed to making the application process as easy as possible for you by providing detailed receipts for our services. We also recommend taking a look at the official video regarding the program at this link.
There is no doubt that this past year has been challenging, and that everyone has been touched in some way by COVID-19. It is our sincerest hope that this program provides some support to you in your hour of need. As always, we are here for you if you need us. Do reach out to us anytime if you need support.