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Funeral Assistance FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

While a funeral home employee may help an individual gather required documentation, they cannot speak on behalf of the applicant unless the applicant designates them to act on their behalf through a power of attorney.

The death certificate amendment process starts by contacting the individual who certified the death. This may be a physician, local coroner, or local medical examiner. You may provide them with evidence supporting your claim the death was attributable to COVID-19.

FEMA expanded its COVID-19 Funeral Assistance documentation requirements to allow applicants to submit a signed statement from the certifying official listed on the death certificate, local medical examiner, or local coroner attributing the death to COVID-19 for deaths that occurred between January 20 and May 16, 2020.

The signed statement must accompany the death certificate and include a causal pathway, or explanation, linking the cause of death on the death certificate to COVID-‍19.

No. For deaths occurring after May 16, 2020, COVID-19 Funeral Assistance documentation must include a death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories or the District of Columbia.

Following consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FEMA believes the largest number of undiagnosed COVID-19 cases most likely occurred early in the pandemic and prior to the CDC’s guidance on death certification.

No. The signed statement must be signed by the certifying official listed on the death certificate, or the local medical examiner or local coroner in the jurisdiction where the individual died.

You will not be asked to provide proof of life insurance. Life insurance proceeds are not considered a duplication of COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.

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It may take up to 14 business days for documents to appear in your case file. Please do not resend documents or call to check on the status without allowing enough time for FEMA to upload and process your paperwork.

FEMA will not approve financial assistance for third-party fees charged to assist individuals with the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application process.

The Privacy Act limits access to disasterassistance.gov accounts to the applicant and/or co-applicant.

While a funeral home may provide internet access to the applicant, they cannot submit the documents or receive correspondence on the applicant’s behalf. Learn more about who can help with the application process.

Last updated October 26, 2021