FEMA applications for COVID-19 funeral assistance opens Monday

FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses. Applications are set to open April 12.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus,” the agency stated.

This update is helpful to Raymond Furman in Lee County who lost his mom to COVID-19.

“She could never turn away someone that needed help,” Furman said. “She was always that way.”

When Furman lost his job and home up north, it was his mother who took him in.

“I had no place to go, and she said, ‘Come down here. I have room,’” Furman explained.

A registered nurse for more than 60 years, Dorothy Furman spent her career helping others.

“Refused to stay retired more than a month,” Furman said.

It’s also how she spent some of her last days living.

“She was working around here, Cape Coral, and she caught COVID from one patient, and two weeks late, she was in the hospital,” Furman said. “And a week and a half after that, she was gone.”

For families who’ve lost a loved one to COVID-19, FEMA is offering to help families with funeral costs.

If the person died from COVID-19 after Jan. 20, 2020, eligible families could get $9,000 for costs such as funeral home, headstones, cremation or burial services.

It’s big help for some going through financial strain like Furman.

“She took the precautions she was supposed to, and it still didn’t matter. 82-years-old, your immune system is somewhat compromised,” Furman said. “It is what it is. I have to accept reality … She’s in a better place now.”

The assistance is being provided under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

FEMA will begin accepting applications for Funeral Assistance on Monday, April 12 through a dedicated call center. More information will be released in the coming days.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:

  • 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 attributed to COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020.
  • There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

How to Apply

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number

Applications begin on April 12, 2021
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time

If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) 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. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

How Funds are Received

If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
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