The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering up to $9,000 per deceased individual for funeral expenses resulting from COVID-19 related deaths.
“Families that experienced a loss because of COVID have suffered tremendously. Nothing diminishes the pain of that loss, but this government benefit may at least ease the financial burden,” said Cramer & Anderson Partner Josh Weinshank, whose practice focuses on of Trust and Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Trust and Probate administration.
There is currently no deadline for applying.
“We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus,” the FEMA benefits website explains. “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.”
According to FEMA, the basics for those applying are:
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- The funeral expenses were for an individual whose death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories or the District of Columbia, and was likely the result of COVID-19.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
Funeral homes are not eligible to apply on behalf of an individual or be a co-applicant, according to FEMA.
States, tribes, territories, businesses, organizations, and other entities are also not eligible to apply for benefits that are reserved for individuals who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses.
Among the categories of individuals not eligible to apply are:
- Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
- Temporary tourist visa holders.
- Foreign students.
- Temporary work visa holders.
- A minor child applying on behalf of an adult who is not a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien. (However, a minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien, can apply if they directly incurred funeral expenses for a COVID-19-related death and the documentation supports that assertion.)
See the FEMA FAQ page for the full list of documentation and other requirements; the basics include:
- A death certificate indicating the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- For deaths that occurred from Jan. 20 to May 16, 2020, a death certificate that does not attribute the cause of death to COVID-19 must be accompanied by a signed statement listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.
- The documentation must show that the deaths occurred in the U.S. or its territories.
- Funeral expense 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 were incurred.
Those with life insurance could qualify for the benefits, according to FEMA, but funding designated specifically for funeral expenses is not eligible for reimbursement, including burial or funeral insurance, a pre-planned or pre-paid funeral contract, a pre-paid trust for funeral expenses, or an irrevocable trust for Medicaid. Nonetheless, COVID-19-related funeral expenses that exceeded any funding set aside may still be eligible for reimbursement.
Applications are not accepted online. Those who wish to apply are directed to call FEMA at 844-684-6333 or 800-462-7585. Supporting documents can be uploaded to a DisasterAssistance.gov account, Faxed to 855-261-3452, or mailed to P.O. BOX 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782.
Accepted applicants will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit.
About Cramer & Anderson
With six offices in western Connecticut, the firm serves clients in nearly 20 practice areas, ranging from Estate Planning and Elder Law to Workers’ Comp, Personal Injury, Social Security Disability, Immigration Law, and more.
Our team of highly-experienced attorneys offers a warm, hometown sensibility combined with a sophisticated, worldly outlook. To learn more, see our website at www.crameranderson.com or call the New Milford office at (860) 355-2631.