Starting in April, Americans will be able to apply for reimbursement from the federal government of funeral costs for loved ones who died from COVID-19.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is planning to launch a reimbursement program next month, funded with $2 billion from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The agency is still in the process of setting up a call center through which people can apply. The exact date of program opening has not yet been announced.
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Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions, according to FEMA:
- 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 lawful permanent resident who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
What Will Be Needed to Apply?
According to the agency's website, people should start gathering the following types of documentation ahead of the program's launch:
- 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 includes 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.
Approved applicants can receive the funds by direct deposit or a mailed check.
More details are expected in the coming weeks.