If you have recently lost a family member to COVID-19 and paid their funeral expenses, you may be eligible to receive up to $9,000 of reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Who is eligible?
The death must have occurred in the U.S., its territories, or the District of Columbia after January 20, 2020. The person applying for the benefits must be a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national or qualified alien who paid for funeral expenses for someone who died from COVID-19. That is, the death certificate must state that the death was caused by, may have been caused by or was likely a result of COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms.
What is covered?
In addition to the typical funeral expenses, reimbursement may be made for the expense of the casket or urn, burial plot, expenses for cremation and interment costs and a marker or headstone. Other costs associated with death and burial may also be covered with documentation.
Keep in mind this program is designed to reimburse you for expenses you actually incur, so if your loved one had burial or funeral insurance, a prepaid funeral contract or a prepaid trust for funeral expenses, you cannot claim reimbursement.
Once an application is approved and expenses are verified, the applicant will receive a paper check or direct deposit into their bank account.
What documents are required to apply?
Before applying, you will need the following:
- death certificate;
- address of where the death happened;
- receipts for funeral expenses;
- if applicable, documentation of other sources of payment such as donations, funeral insurance, or a prepaid funeral contract;
- the social security number and birth date for the deceased family member;
- the social security number and birth date for the person applying for reimbursement;
- the current mailing address and telephone number for the applicant;
- the applicant’s bank account and routing numbers (if you want FEMA to make a direct deposit rather than mailing a check)
How do I apply?
Applications must be made by phone Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern Time by calling FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line at 844-684-6333. Have your documents available and be ready to write down your application number: you will need it to upload, fax or mail in your documentation to FEMA.
For more information, visit here.
Melissa De Groff is a partner at KGR. Her practice focuses on representing individuals in estate planning and state administration proceedings.