The Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering to provide financial relief for COVID-19-related funeral expenses as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The agency will start accepting applications as early as April 1.
The death should have occurred after January 20, 2020 in the United States, including U.S. territories.
The death certificate should attribute the death to COVID-19.
There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien and applicants need to be U.S. citizens, non-citizen national or qualified alien. The key requirement is that you incurred the funeral expenses.
FEMA said it will provide up to $9,000 per funeral and for those who lost multiple family members to COVID-19 eligible to apply for up to $35,000.
“At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters,” said Acting FEMA
Administrator Bob Fenton in a news release. “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.”
According to FEMA, applicants can be reimbursed for costs related to funeral expenses and will include the following:
- Transportation for up to two people to identify the deceased individual
- Transfer of remains
- Casket or urn
- Burial plot or cremation niche
- Marker or headstone
- Clergy or officiant services and arrangement of the funeral ceremony
- Use of funeral home equipment or staff
- Cremation or interment costs
FEMA’s funeral assistance will however not reimburse costs that were already covered by other aid, including burial or funeral insurance, donations, or financial assistance received from other agencies, organizations or government programs.
Mshale has not been able to determine whether life insurance proceeds are considered aid, so if you received life insurance after a loved one’s death, we encourage you to still apply.
How and where to apply
Visit this FEMA site for the full list of requirements including documentation and how to apply: fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance/faq
About Tom Gitaa Gitaa
Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dish Network satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.
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