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Funeral Assistance FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

No.

Any source of payment designated specifically to pay for a funeral prior to death is considered a duplication and is not eligible for reimbursement. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance may not duplicate burial or funeral insurance proceeds, pre-planned or pre-paid funeral contracts, pre-paid trust for funeral expenses, irrevocable trust for Medicaid, financial assistance from voluntary organizations, government programs or agencies, or any other sources specifically designated for funeral expenses. Any eligible COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will be reduced by the amount of other assistance you received for the same expenses.

To be eligible for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, you must provide documentation showing you incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses on or after January 20, 2020. FEMA cannot provide financial assistance that duplicates any source of funding designated specifically to pay for a funeral prior to the death or for a death not attributed to COVID-19.

FEMA does not consider life insurance proceeds, death gratuities, or other forms of assistance not specifically intended to defray funeral costs as a duplication of benefit. Therefore, applicants who used life insurance to pay for funeral expenses may be considered for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.

Any funding designated specifically for funeral costs is considered a duplication and is not eligible for reimbursement. This includes burial or funeral insurance, a pre-planned or pre-paid funeral contract, a pre-paid trust for funeral expenses, or an irrevocable trust for Medicaid.

However, if COVID-19-related funeral expenses were incurred on or after January 20, 2020, and exceeded the funding intended to pay these costs, FEMA may evaluate your receipts and other documentation for eligible costs not covered by those funds to ensure there is no duplication of benefits. For example, if you incur expenses for a $10,000 funeral, where the funeral or burial insurance covered only $8,000, you may be eligible for $2,000 in COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.

All funeral expenses for a deceased individual must be submitted in a single application. You may include one co-applicant on your application. If multiple people contribute toward an individual’s COVID-19-related funeral expenses, one of them should apply for assistance and submit funeral expense documentation from everyone who contributed in that single application.

FEMA will not contact you unless you have already called FEMA and applied for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance. Do not disclose information such as the name, birth date, or Social Security Number of any deceased individual during an unsolicited telephone call or e-mail from anyone.

Phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number. If you doubt a caller is legitimate, hang up and report it to the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 844-684-6333 or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.

You have 60 days from the date of the decision letter to upload, fax, or mail a written and signed letter appealing FEMA's decision.

The appeal letter should include the following:

  • Your full name; FEMA application number; FEMA disaster number; and current phone number and address. You must include your application number on each page of your appeal documentation.
  • Explanation of why you think FEMA’s decision is not correct.
  • Supporting documentation, such as a death certificate, funeral home contract, invoice, signed statement, etc.
  • Your signature

Submit your appeal documents by:

  • Upload to your DisasterAssistance.gov account
  • Fax to: 855-261-3452
  • Mail to: P.O. BOX 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782

Your COVID-19 Funeral Assistance decision letter lists the specific documentation you must provide to FEMA if you decided to appeal. A FEMA representative may call you to provide further details, or you may contact the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline for more information on the documentation needed.

If you are approved for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, you will receive funds by direct deposit or a check by mail, depending on which option you chose when you applied for assistance.

You must provide a copy of the death certificate, proof of funeral expenses incurred, and proof of funeral assistance received from any other source.

  • The death certificate must indicate the death was caused by, “may have been caused by,” or “was likely a result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution. If the death certificate was issued from Jan. 20 to May 16, 2020 and does not list COVID-19 as a cause of death, you may submit the death certificate along with a signed statement from the original certifier of the death, or the local medical examiner or coroner, attributing the death to COVID-19.
  • The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories or the District of Columbia. Funeral expenses incurred for a U.S. citizen who died outside the United States are not eligible.
  • Documentation for funeral expenses (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) must include your name as an individual responsible for the expenses, the deceased individual’s name, itemized funeral expenses, and proof funeral expenses were incurred on or after January 20, 2020.
  • You must also provide FEMA with proof of funds received from other sources specifically designated for funeral costs. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance may not duplicate burial or funeral insurance proceeds, pre-planned or pre-paid funeral contracts, pre-paid trust for funeral expenses, irrevocable trust for Medicaid, financial assistance from voluntary organizations, government programs or agencies, or any other sources specifically designated for funeral expenses. Any eligible COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will be reduced by the amount of other assistance you received for the same expenses.
  • Life insurance proceeds are not considered a duplication of COVID-19 Funeral Assistance benefits.

You will need to provide the following information when you call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline to apply for assistance:

  • Social Security Number for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Current mailing address for the applicant
  • Current telephone number for the applicant
  • Location or address where the individual died
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
  • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations, CARES Act grants, and assistance from voluntary organizations
  • Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)

The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application is completed by a FEMA agent over the phone to ensure accuracy, and applicants will need to provide the following information when they call to apply:

  • Social Security Number for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Current mailing address for the applicant
  • Current telephone number for the applicant
  • Location or address where the individual died
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
  • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations, CARES Act grants, and assistance from voluntary organizations
  • Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)
Last updated October 26, 2021