Congressman Tim Ryan Announces New FEMA Program to Assist with COVID-19 Funeral Expenses
Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) announces that in early April, FEMA will begin providing up to $9,000 for funeral expenses incurred for deaths related to COVID-19. The policy has been finalized today, and FEMA will now move rapidly to implement this funeral assistance program nationwide. Ryan helped secure this $2 billion in funding for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund through the COVID-19 Relief Bill and Fiscal Year 2021 spending package which was signed into law in late December 2020. More information will come available in the coming weeks about the process for application.
“The last thing American families need when struggling with the loss of a loved one to COVID-19 is to bear the burden of additional bills for the funeral. Funerals can be enormously expensive, and the burden can be even heavier while we are suffering under the weight of the economic crisis brought on by this pandemic. While nothing can ever fill the loss of a loved one, I am thankful that we were at least able to take steps to lessen the strain on those who have been hardest-hit by this crisis,” said Congressman Tim Ryan.
This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application. Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.
In the coming weeks, a dedicated 800 phone number will be established to help individuals who apply. In the meantime, potential applicants are encouraged to start gathering the following documentation:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the U. S. 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 (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the 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.
To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states:
- 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.
- If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. 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.
- An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
- The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
More information regarding this assistance can be found at COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | FEMA.gov