Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Congress authorized FEMA to provide financial assistance to individuals who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. FEMA has announced its final policy, though it appears the details on how to apply are still in process. Implementation and clarification of the process should begin in April 2021.
Noteworthy from the announcement regarding qualification, requirements, and eligibility:
- 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 directly or indirectly attributed to COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- Eligible funeral expenses of up to $9,000 include:
- 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
- Expenses already reimbursed through voluntary agencies, government programs, or agencies will not be reimbursed. This DOES NOT include life insurance.
- Expenses paid by a pre-paid life insurance policy, trust, reimbursed from government or certain other agencies, or crowdfunding are not reimbursed. Out of pocket costs not covered by these sources are reimbursable.
- You will have to provide documentation.
- Only one application per deceased will be accepted. In cases where multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they must register under the same application.
- There are no income requirements or limits that prevent an applicant from claiming benefits.
The process will involve gathering necessary documents, calling FEMA, and either uploading, faxing, or mailing the documents to FEMA. Morizzo Funeral Home Chapels & Cremation Services is here to help. We have a dedicated staff person ready to take your call or meet with you to answer your questions and assist in the process.