Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home in Hollister. Photo by John Chadwell.
Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home in Hollister. Photo by John Chadwell.

Information provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency

On its website the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it is providing COVID-19 funeral cost relief for eligible individuals.

Eligibility includes:

  • applicant is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified non-citizen.
  • the death occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia;
  • the death was attributed to COVID-19; and
  • applicant is responsible for the eligible funeral expenses incurred on or after January 20, 2020

FEMA may approve COVID-19 Funeral Assistance for expenses such as:

  • funeral services
  • cremation
  • interment
  • costs associated with producing death certificates
  • costs due to local or state government laws or ordinances
  • transportation for up to two people to identify the person who died
  • transfer of remains
  • casket or urn
  • burial plot
  • marker or headstone
  • clergy
  • funeral ceremony
  • funeral home equipment or staff
FEMA requires applicants to provide a copy of an official death certificate that shows the death occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, occurred after January 20, 2020, and was attributed to COVID-19.

If the death certificate was issued between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020, it must either 1) attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 or 2) be accompanied by a signed statement from the original certifier of the death certificate, or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred, listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death. This signed statement must provide an additional explanation or causal pathway, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to COVID-19.

FEMA said applicants must provide a signed funeral home contract, invoice, receipts, or other documentation that includes:

  • your name, showing you are responsible for some or all expenses
  • the name of the person who died
  • itemized expenses
  • proof that the expenses were incurred on or after Jan. 20, 2020

How Does it Work?

  1. To apply, call 844-684-6333 toll-free between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. FEMA representatives will take your application, and multilingual services are available. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance applications must be completed with a FEMA representative; you cannot apply online. It will take about 20 minutes to apply, and you must provide:
    • Your Social Security number and date of birth
    • The Social Security number and date of birth of the person who died
    • Your current mailing address and telephone number
    • The address where the individual died
    • If the person who died had burial or funeral insurance policies
    • If you received other funeral assistance (such as donations, CARES Act grants, state/territory assistance, or assistance from voluntary organizations)
    • If you want eligible funds delivered by direct deposit, the routing and account number of your checking or savings account.
  2. After you apply, FEMA will provide you with an application number to create an account on
  3. You must submit supporting documents (e.g., funeral home contracts, receipts, invoices, death certificate) by:
    • Upload to your account
    • Fax to 855-261-3452
    • Mail to: P.O. Box 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782.
  4. Once FEMA receives all required documents, it takes approximately 45 days to make an eligibility decision.
  5. If FEMA approves your application for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, funds will be deposited to your bank account or sent by mail in the form of a Department of the Treasury check, depending on which option you choose during your application. Funds usually arrive within a few days of approval, and you will receive a notification letter.