Funeral procession: FEMA funeral aid

Surviving Kerr County family members of those who died from COVID-19 may soon be able to receive financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ease the burden of funeral expenses.

FEMA will begin providing financial assistance in April for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, for deaths related to the novel coronavirus, said Kerr County Emergency Management Coordinator William B. “Dub” Thomas.

The policy was finalized recently under the coronavirus response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

FEMA is now moving to implement this form of funeral assistance nationwide as quickly as possible, Thomas said. 

“At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters,” said acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate.”

Applications will start being accepted on April 12. The phone number will be 844-686-6333, and the phone will be answered 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

WHO QUALIFIES

To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral aid, the policy stipulates:

- 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-applicants. 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 U.S., including its territories and the District of Columbia.

- Assistance is limited to a maximum 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.

 

WHAT’S NEEDED

Those planning to apply are encouraged to gather the following documents needed before starting the application process:

- Death certificate: An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows the death happened in the U.S. is required. The 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 contracts and other documents that include the applicant’s name, deceased individual’s name, amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred is also required.

- Proof of funds received from other sources: Funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs should be proven. Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, federal, state, local, tribal or territorial government programs or agencies, or other sources.

For more information about receiving this FEMA assistance, visit https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.

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