As part of the December COVID-19 relief bill, $2 billion was set aside for people who have had to pay for a funeral and burial of a loved one. Eligible individuals and families shall receive up to $7,000 in reimbursement according to the bill.
Starting in April, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, FEMA, will begin accepting applications from eligible families.
As of the publishing of this article, it is uncertain who will be eligible to receive these funds, but it will likely exclude certain individuals and families with incomes above a certain threshold. FEMA has released some conditions to be eligible for assistance, which include:
- The death must have occurred in the US, including the US territories and the District of Columbia.
- The funeral and burial costs must have been incurred between Jan. 20 and Dec. 31, 2020, but assistance excludes funerals that took place in 2021.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a US citizen, noncitizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020.
- There is no requirement that the deceased person have been a US citizen, noncitizen national, or a qualified alien.
The details are still not fully known, but FEMA is creating a dedicated toll-free phone number that can be used to apply for funeral assistance. In the meantime, our firm recommends families begin gathering any documentation on funeral costs, such as official death certificates, funeral home receipts, and other documents that include the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, funeral expenses and dates that the funeral expenses happened.
Do note that FEMA is not able to duplicate benefits from burial or funeral insurance or financial assistance received from charities, government agencies, or other sources.
Virtus Law, PLLC continues to monitor changes in this area and will continue to post relevant updates to this website.