The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on Tuesday that the federal government has allocated more than $2 billion to help families of those who died of COVID-19 cover funeral costs.
The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program covers up to $9,000 in funeral costs per person. According to FEMA, families have received around $6,500 on average per death.
Funeral services, cremation, and interment are all covered by the program, and so are the costs of caskets or urns, burial plots or cremation niches, headstone markers, transportation or transfer of remains, clergy or officiant services, and the use of funeral home equipment or employees.
Families must present death certificates confirming that COVID-19 was the cause of death of a loved one who died after May 16, 2020, in order to be eligible for assistance.
For deaths that happened between January 20 and May 16, 2020, during the early months of the pandemic, the death certificate must include a written declaration from a medical examiner establishing that COVID-19 was a contributing cause of death.
For the reimbursement program, FEMA is not accepting online applications. Those who qualify can call the agency’s helpline at (844) 684-6333 and follow the prompts to submit the required documentation.