On April 12, 2021, FEMA began accepting applications for financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19), to help ease some financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic.

We’ve put together answers to common questions from FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Individuals and Households Program Policy.

  • How can I apply for FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?
    • Applications begin on April 12, 2021.
    • You can only apply via phone – please call the 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
  • Can I apply for help if I am a Legal Permanent Resident? 
    • Yes. The policy states that the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
  • What if my sibling and I each pitched in for the funeral of a parent? Can we apply together? 
    • Yes. If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. (They should NOT submit two separate applications.) If more than two individuals contributed, FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual. 
  • I lost two family members to Covid-19 and handled both of their funeral expenses. Can I apply for both?
    • Yes. An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
  • I lost my significant other to COVID-19 while in another country, can I apply for funeral benefits? 
    • No. The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
  • My partner’s funeral cost me $10,000. How much will FEMA cover? 
    • This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application per state, territory, or the District of Columbia.
  • What can I use FEMA funeral benefits for?
    • Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.

You will need to submit the following documents to FEMA to receive COVID-19 Funeral Assistance:

  • An official death certificate. The death certificate must attribute the death to COVID-19, and shows the death occurred in the United States. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
  • Funeral expense documents. These can be receipts, funeral home contracts, etc. that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
  • 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, federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies, or other sources.

For more information about this assistance, visit COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | FEMA.gov.

Lone Star Legal Aid has extensive experience dealing with FEMA. If you are in need of help navigating FEMA, you can apply for free legal help by calling 1-800-733-8394 or by visiting http://www.lonestarlegal.org.

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org