(Washington, DC) – The Bowser Administration is highlighting a new federal assistance program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that provides financial assistance to individuals nationwide who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
Funding for the program comes through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. FEMA encourages those who have COVID-19 funeral expenses to keep and gather documentation needed to apply for this assistance program. A dedicated call center, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, has been established to help individuals and families who apply: 1-844-684-6333, TTY: 1-800-462-7585. FEMA is currently experiencing high call volumes on their Funeral Assistance phone line. Please try again later if you get a busy signal or your call doesn't connect. There is no deadline to apply.
To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, FEMA states:
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 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.
- 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.
Applicants will be asked to provide 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. For more information on vital records and online death certificates, please visit the DC Health Vital Records Division at dchealth.dc.gov/vital-records. An online appointment can be made here or by calling (202) 442-9303 and selecting Option 1 and then Option 9. Death phone certificate orders can also be made online at https://www.vitalchek.com/Fax-Phone/DC_Death_Application.pdf or by calling 1-877-572-6332.
- 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.
More information regarding COVID-19 funeral assistance can be found at: www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance