Funeral ReimbursementIf any of your loved ones passed due to SARS COVID-19, it may be possible to attain reimbursement on funeral expenses.
FEMA set up this assistance program under the American Rescue Plan Act and the Coronavirus Response Act of 2021. Eligible parties can apply for financial assistance to help offset expensive costs, including funeral home usage and burial plots.
We're sure you have plenty of questions regarding COVID-19 funeral reimbursement. As you navigate these difficult times, we want to help. Below, we'll tell you everything you need to know regarding FEMA's assistance program.
There are a few conditions a person must meet to receive funds from FEMA:
- The death certificate must state COVID-19 was the cause of death.
- Applicants must be either a qualified alien, non-citizen national, or U.S. citizen.
- Funeral expenses had to be incurred after January 20th, 2020.
Additionally, a minor cannot apply on behalf of an adult who does not meet application residency requirements. The deceased person has no citizenship requirements, but the death must have happened in the United States.
How Can You Apply For COVID-19 Funeral Reimbursement?
To apply for reimbursement, you'll have to reach out to the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline.
Toll-Free Number: 844-684-6333
The line is active between 9 AM to 9 PM EST on Monday through Friday. You cannot apply online.
After calling, a FEMA representative will help you complete the application. The application will take about 20 minutes, and you're free to ask any questions throughout the process.
You'll need the following information ready for the application:
- Date of birth for yourself and your deceased family member
- Your current mailing address
- Your current phone number
- Social Security Number (yours and the deceased's)
- Address/location where the deceased individual died
- Info regarding funeral or burial insurance policies
- Info regarding any other funeral assistance received (CARES Act grants, donations, etc.)
- Your bank routing and account number, if you're requesting direct deposit assistance
Your application will require additional documentation once submitted, which we'll cover in the next section.
What Happens After Submitting Your Application?
After you've gone through your application, the FEMA representative will give you an application number, so you can send in more supporting documents if this is needed.
The additional documents include:
- Copy of death certificate
- Proof of any expenses incurred
- Proof of outside assistance, if received from other sources
There are a few ways to submit this additional paperwork:
- Mail documents to P.O. BOX 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782
- Fax over documents to 855-261-3452
- Upload your documents to your gov account
What Expenses Can Receive Reimbursement?
FEMA covers a wide range of funeral expenses for individuals who passed to COVID-19. Eligible services and items for reimbursement include, but is not limited to:
- Funeral home equipment or staff usage
- Caskets or urns
- Funeral services
- Gravestone markers/headstones
- Cremation niche
- Burial plot
- Funeral ceremony arrangement
- Clergy/officiant services
- Remains transfer
- Transportation for individuals who identified remains (up to two people)
If local or state law required additional expenses, those are also eligible for reimbursement. If expenses you've incurred are not included on the above list, don't be afraid to ask your FEMA representative about them. Our list is by no means exhaustive, and you could be entitled to further compensation.
How Much Will You Receive?
You could receive up to $9,000 per deceased individual from FEMA's COVID-19 funeral reimbursement program.
If you've lost several relatives due to COVID-19 and are looking for reimbursement for multiple funerals, this is also possible. One application can receive a maximum of $35,000 in the case of multiple deceased loved ones.
Applications can include one co-applicant, but this will not increase the total funding. If multiple people helped pay funeral expenses, only one individual needs to apply and submit necessary documentation on behalf of all who contributed.
What Is a Deadline For FEMA Application?
At the time of writing, there is no application deadline. You can continue applying for the foreseeable future.
There has been no indication funding will run out, and as of August 13th, 2021, FEMA has provided over $1 billion in assistance. However, it's best to apply as soon as possible to receive your compensation promptly.
What's The Timeline For Reimbursement?
The timeline will depend on submitting your documentation following the initial application, but legibility determination typically takes less than 30 days.
To receive your approval decision, we recommend submitting everything as soon as you can. It can take up to 14 days for your documents to appear in your file, as FEMA must process your paperwork.
Once approved for the COVID-19 funeral reimbursement, you'll receive compensation via direct deposit or a mailed check (depending on which you chose while applying) within a few days.
What Should You Do If You Need Immediate Funds?
If you cannot pay expenses in total, but you know the full amount, you can apply. You still must meet all eligibility requirements and provide the required documentation.
Otherwise, it's best to wait until you 100% know the whole expenses. The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program is a one-time payment. If you end up having more expenses after receiving compensation, you'll have to file an appeal. In the appeals process, you'll need to submit further documents proving the additional cost (funeral home contract, coffin, receipts, etc.).
We understand that waiting for approval isn't always an option. If you're unable to wait, research local charities and organizations willing to provide finance support in the meantime. Many are out there and happy to help. Additionally, crowdfunding is always a viable option, and fundraisers can give you immediate support.