As part of both the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, as well as the American Rescue Plan Act, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing monetary payouts to assist with COVID-19 related funeral expenses. Qualifying applicants may be eligible to receive as much as $9,000 “for each COVID-19 related funeral for which they are responsible.”
According to the most recent version of FEMA’s policy, amended June 29, 2021, to meet eligibility requirements, an applicant must:
- be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
- have incurred funeral expenses on or after January 20, 2020.
- have a verifiable identity.
- not have had funeral expenses covered by other sources, such as burial insurance.
- possess one of the following forms of documentation:
- a death certificate attributing death to COVID-19.
- a death certificate that “lacks clear attribution to COVID-19 and a statement signed by the certifying official on the death certificate, medical examiner, or coroner listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.”
- have been declared deceased within the United States; including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
As of September 13, 2021, FEMA has approved 272,351 applications, worth more than $1 billion. In West Virginia, 1,441 applications for funeral assistance have been submitted, 790 of which have been approved thus far. FEMA has paid a total of $5,369,036 to eligible West Virginians, for an average payout of $6,796.24 per approved application.
Applications for COVID-19 related funeral expenses must be submitted by calling the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline, at 844-684-6333. Applications may be submitted between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday. While applications cannot be submitted online, additional information regarding FEMA’s COVID-19 funeral assistance program can be found by visiting https://www.fema.gov/disaster/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.