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Funeral Assistance FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

No. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan of 2021 directed FEMA to provide COVID-19 Funeral Assistance under the Other Needs Assistance provision of the Individuals and Households Program. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per deceased individual and $35,500 per application, per state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia, in cases where the applicant incurred funeral expenses for multiple deceased individuals.

As part of the application review process, FEMA validates documentation, and may call the funeral home to verify receipts or expenses.

If the applicant has not paid the funeral expenses in full, but incurred the expenses after January 20, 2020, they must provide proof of funeral expenses (e.g., receipts, funeral home contract, etc.). Review a list of required documentation here.

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FEMA is authorized to provide COVID-19 Funeral Assistance directly to an eligible applicant. It is the applicant’s responsibility to settle outstanding debts with the funeral home.

Funeral directors do not have a legal responsibility to assist with COVID-19 Funeral Assistance. FEMA may call the funeral home to verify receipts or expenses submitted by an applicant.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is considered a one-time payment for funeral expenses, and individuals should apply after incurring all applicable costs. If an individual incurs additional funeral expenses after receiving COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, they will need to file an appeal and submit additional documentation (e.g., receipts, funeral home contract, etc.). COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per deceased individual and $35,500 per application, per state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia, in cases where the applicant incurred funeral expenses for multiple deceased individuals.

FEMA eligibility determinations are generally made in fewer than 30 days from the time all required documentation is received and verified. Once an eligibility determination is made, applicants who request direct deposit may receive the funds in a matter of days. It may take longer if the applicant has chosen to receive COVID-19 Funeral Assistance by check, which is sent by mail.

No. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is provided to the individual who incurred the expenses. It is the applicant’s responsibility to pay the funeral home the amount due.

No. Section 408(e)(1) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) does not recognize funeral homes or other businesses as eligible recipients of federal funds under the Individuals and Households Program. FEMA will not provide COVID-19 Funeral Assistance funds to states, tribes, territories, businesses, organizations, and other entities.

Last updated October 26, 2021