A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program launched Monday to assist with financial expenses of funerals for COVID-19 related deaths.
Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency (RCEMA) wants to inform the local community about the program.
“We recognize that our community has suffered at various lengths due to the pandemic,” said Public Safety Director Chris Clark. “ We want to make sure we’re keeping our citizens informed about available assistance programs, including FEMA’s most recent COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program.”
The FEMA program provides financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic.
To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states:
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 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.
Potential applicants are encouraged to start gathering 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.
- 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.
FEMA has created an informational “how to” video concerning the program that can be accessed at: https://youtu.be/DgvN_9m58Z0.
The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number is 1-844-684-6333. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. More information about the program is available by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov or COVID-19 Funeral Assistance via FEMA.gov.