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FEMA COVID Funeral Assistance

FEMA to Provide Assistance with Funeral Costs for COVID-19-Related Deaths

Apply for Assistance

Who can apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?

You may qualify if:

  1. You are a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020 and,
  2. The funeral expenses were for an individual whose death in the United States, territories or the District of Columbia, may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19.

A minor child cannot apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance on behalf of an adult who is not a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.



How Do I Apply?

The Application MUST be started via phone:

 

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number
Applications begin on April 12, 2021
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time

 

  • You will be able to call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get an application completed with help from FEMA's representatives.
  • No online applications will be accepted.
  • Multilingual services will be available.
  • Once an applicant has applied for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance and is provided an application number, they may provide supporting documentation to FEMA a few ways:
    • Upload to their DisasterAssistance.gov account- This is the preferred method of submission. Documents will be received quicker and refunds will be issued quicker.
    • Fax documents
    • Mail documents



What funeral expenses are covered?

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation. Any receipts received for expenses that are not related to funeral services will not be determined eligible expenses. Expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual
  • Transfer of remains
  • Casket or urn
  • Burial plot or cremation niche
  • Marker or headstone
  • Clergy or officiant services
  • Arrangement of the funeral ceremony
  • Use of funeral home equipment or staff
  • Cremation or interment costs
  • Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates
  • Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances



I was responsible for funeral expenses for more than one person whose death was attributed to COVID-19. Can I apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance for more than one death? Is there a limit?

  • Yes, applicants may receive assistance for the funeral expenses of multiple deceased individuals. You can include multiple deceased individuals on your application.
  • Assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application per state, territory, or the District of Columbia.



Someone else helped me pay for funeral expenses. Can they apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?

FEMA will only provide COVID-19 Funeral Assistance to one applicant per deceased individual. To be approved for reimbursement of funeral expenses due to a COVID-19 fatality, you must have incurred funeral expenses for the deceased individual and have documentation (receipts, funeral home contracts, etc.) showing your name as the responsible party.

If more than one individual contributed toward funeral expenses, they must register with FEMA under the same application as the applicant and co-applicant, or the first applicant that submits all required documentation will be awarded COVID-19 Funeral Assistance for the deceased individual. No more than one co-applicant can be included on an application.

* Mealey recommendation - Although FEMA is allowing an applicant and co-applicant to be reimbursed, if multiple people paid for funeral expenses, this still leaves people with valid expenses out of the reimbursement. We recommend submitting all of your receipts through one applicant and letting FEMA reimburse one person, who is then responsible for reimbursing the remaining parties who contributed to the funeral expenses to avoid confusion.



What information do I need to provide when I register?

The applicant responsible for COVID-19 funeral expenses will need to provide the following information below when they call FEMA to register for assistance. We recommend gathering this information now as we prepare to open the application process.

  • Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Current mailing address for the applicant
  • Current telephone number for the applicant
  • Location or address where the deceased individual passed away
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
  • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations
  • CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations
  • Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)



What documentation do I need to submit for reimbursement?

You must provide a copy of the death certificate, proof of funeral expenses incurred, and proof of assistance received from any other source.

The death certificate must indicate the death was caused by, “may have been caused by” or “was likely a result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.

The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is not available for the funeral expenses of U.S. citizens who died outside the United States.

Documentation for expenses (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) must include:

  • The applicant’s name as the person responsible for the expense,
  • The deceased individual’s name,
  • The amount of funeral expenses
  • That funeral expenses were incurred after January 20, 2020.

The applicant must also provide FEMA with proof of funds received from other sources specifically used for funeral costs. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance or financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government programs or agencies, or other sources. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will be reduced by the amount of other assistance the applicant received for the same expenses.

Life insurance proceeds are not considered a duplication of Funeral Assistance benefits.



The death certificate doesn’t attribute the death to COVID-19. How do I get a death certificate amended?

It is possible to change or amend a death certificate, but can be a lengthy process. Only the doctor who certified the death certificate can amend the cause of death. This process starts with contacting the person who certified the death, such as the deceased’s attending physician, hospice doctor, or the medical examiner. Their name and address is on the death certificate. Applicants may be asked to present evidence to support the claim the death was attributable to COVID-19. As funeral directors, we will assist with these phone calls, but we are unable to change the cause of death for you. Once the certifying doctor has amended the certificate in coordination with Vital Statistics, we can pick up the amended certificates from the Board of Health.



If the funeral was pre-planned and pre-funded with a life insurance policy through the funeral home and my loved one died of COVID-19, am I eligible for reimbursement?

No, unfortunately you are not eligible for reimbursement. FEMA has deemed this is a “duplication of benefit”. FEMA has determined that the deceased had already planned and paid for their funeral services, and they are not permitted to reimburse what another source was designed to pay. If you incurred costs above and beyond what your loved one prepaid for their funeral services, then you are eligible for reimbursement.

Regular life insurance policies that an individual paid for, independent of the funeral home, are eligible for reimbursement because the intent for their use after death was unknown.



Will donations made toward funeral expenses be reimbursed?

No. FEMA considers this to be a “duplication of benefit” and will not reimburse donations made towards funeral expenses from friends, family, or through crowdsourcing such as GoFundMe. As this is still a “gray area”that was not explained to funeral directors in great detail, we recommend contacting FEMA if you would like to pursue reimbursement for payments that you did not make towards funeral services.



Is the reimbursement taxable?

No, disaster related funding is not taxable.



Beware of Scams!

FEMA WILL NOT contact you until you have called FEMA or have applied for assistance. Do not disclose information such as name, birth date, or social security number of any deceased family member to any unsolicited telephone calls or emails from anyone claiming to be a federal employee or from FEMA.

Call us toll free at (800) 608-3533

 

Mealey Funeral Home - Limestone Road
Phone: (302) 654-3005
2509 Limestone Road, Wilmington, DE 19808

Mealey Funeral Home - Broom Street
Phone: (302) 652-5913
703 North Broom Street, Wilmington, DE 19808


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