FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance



Information

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

How to apply 

You must contact FEMA at the following number to begin the application process. This phone interview will last approximately 20 minutes.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number

844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time

Information needed for phone interview:

- Applicant's name, address, phone number(s), email address, social security number, date of birth and household income.

- Decedent's name, social security number, date of birth, date of death, and place of death (facility name, address, city, state and zip code).

-Applicant will then go to the below website to create a mandatory account. 

For fastest service following your application, you can begin submitting documentation online through Disasterassistance.gov, and/or by fax 855-261-3452. 

Documents may also be mailed to: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | P.O. Box 10001 Hyattsville, MD 20782. 


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. 


FAQ

Applying 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.

Who cannot apply?

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

There are several categories of aliens lawfully present in the U.S. who are not eligible for FEMA’s Individual and Households Program assistance, including funeral assistance. These include, but are not limited to:

Temporary tourist visa holders.

Foreign students.

Temporary work visa holders.

Habitual residents such as citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

How Do I Apply?

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number

844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time

Call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application completed with help from FEMA's representatives. Multilingual services will be available.

No online applications will be accepted.

When you call, it should take about 20 minutes to apply. It is important to gather all necessary information and documentation before applying for assistance. This will help aid in the completion of the process it in a timely manner.

Once you have applied and are given an application number, you may provide supporting documentation to FEMA a few ways:

Upload to your DisasterAssistance.gov account
Fax documents: 855-261-3452.
Mail documents: P.O. BOX 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782

I’m getting a busy signal. What do I do?

FEMA has reported experiencing some technical issues due to receiving a high call volume. They have also reported that they are working to correct the technical issues. If you happen to reach a busy signal, please try calling again later. There is no deadline to apply for assistance. 

Can the funeral home apply on behalf of the family?

Funeral homes are not eligible to apply on behalf of a family or to be a possible co-applicant on the Funeral Assistance application. The person applying must be an individual, not a business, who incurred the funeral expenses. However, we are available to assist you in obtaining any necessary documents such as death certificates and any receipts. 

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 more than one death? Is there a limit?

Yes, applicants may receive assistance for the funeral expenses of multiple deceased individuals. 

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.  

Can I apply even though I have already applied for a recent disaster event?

Yes. Applicants who recently applied for FEMA assistance for home and/or personal property damage from a disaster and also had funeral expenses for a death attributed to COVID-19 after January 20, 2020, may apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.  A separate application will be required.

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

FEMA will generally 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. 

It is recognized that multiple individuals may have contributed to funeral expenses for one deceased individual. FEMA will work with applicants in these situations and those who submit multiple receipts for funeral expenses when their name does not appear on the receipt.

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.

If a minor child directly incurred funeral expenses for a COVID-19-related death and the documentation supports that payment, the minor child’s application could be reviewed for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.

Are pre-planned and pre-paid funerals eligible for reimbursement if the individual died due to COVID-19?

Any source of payment designated specifically to pay for a funeral in anticipation of a future death cannot be reimbursed under this assistance. This includes burial or funeral insurance, a pre-paid funeral contract, a pre-paid trust for funeral expenses, or an irrevocable trust for Medicare.

What is the deadline to apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?

At this time, there is no deadline to apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance. FEMA will communicate a specific deadline once established.

After Receiving A Decision

How will I receive COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?

If you are approved for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, you will receive a check by mail or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you chose when applying for assistance.

I received a decision letter and was not approved. How do I appeal FEMA's decision? 

You have 60 days from the date of the decision letter to upload, fax or mail a signed letter appealing FEMA's decision.

The appeal should include the following:

- Why you think the decision is not correct.

- Supporting documentation (i.e., death certificate, funeral expenses, or other supporting documentation).

- The application number must be included on each page of the appeal submitted.

- Appeal documents may be submitted by:

Upload through your DisasterAssistance.gov account.

Fax to 855-261-3452.

Mail  to P.O. BOX 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782

Required Information & Documentation

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?

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, and 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. This process starts with contacting the person who certified the death. This may be a treating doctor, a coroner or a medical examiner, and their name and address is on the death certificate. Applicants may present evidence to them to support the claim the death was attributable to COVID-19.

What if I've already paid for a cremation and am planning a future memorial service? 

If you've already paid for a cremation and would like to hold a future memorial service, you may be eligible for reimbursement and assistance to the added memorial service. In this scenario, when applying, it is recommended to combine both contracts into one to submit to FEMA. Our team will gladly assist you with this process and provide you with the necessary documentation to submit. 


Beware of Scams 

FEMA’s Funeral Assistance Program has controls in place to mitigate fraudulent activity. FEMA will not contact anyone until they have called FEMA or have applied for assistance. Do not disclose information such as the name, birth date or social security number of any deceased family member to any unsolicited telephone calls or e-mails from anyone claiming to be a federal employee or from FEMA.

If you doubt a FEMA representative is legitimate, hang up and report it to the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. Complaints also may be made by contacting local law enforcement agencies.


For additional updates and information, please visit the official FEMA Covid-19 Funeral Assistance page.