FEMA gives details on COVID-19-related funeral expense reimbursements

The Oaks Chapel sits at the entrance of Eternal Valley Memorial Park & Mortuary in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Families can soon access COVID-19-related funeral expense relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Beginning in early April, FEMA said it would pay up to $9,000 in expenses for individual funerals, with those who lost multiple family members able to apply for up to $35,000.

Under the second COVID-19 relief bill signed in December, FEMA was required to set aside $2 billion dollars to reimburse “individuals and households” for funeral expenses that were related to COVID-19 for costs incurred between Jan. 20 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Last month, the county Board of Supervisors took action to be ready for its share of funds, with FEMA announcing this week the eligibility requirements, which include: 

  • The death must have occurred in the U.S., 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 a qualified non-citizen who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020.
  • There are no residential or legal status requirements pertaining to the deceased person.

FEMA announced it’d be establishing a toll-free hotline to assist applicants with their submissions, but in the meantime, applicants are encouraged to begin gathering documentation that will be needed, such as:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the U.S. 
  • Funeral expenses documents, such as receipts and funeral home contracts, that include 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. Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources. If multiple people helped pay for funeral expenses for one individual, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicants.  

For more information in the meantime, visit fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance 

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