Nearly 600,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in 2020. For their families, the loss is acutely personal. The impact of their passing can also be felt financially.
According to the latest figures from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the median cost of a funeral and burial is $7,640. If you get a vault, which is required by many cemeteries, the median cost rises to $9,135.
However, financial relief is available for the funeral costs for those who passed away from COVID-related illness. As much as $9,000 may be reimbursed through a program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA. This assistance is provided under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
To be eligible for FEMA's funeral assistance, you must meet certain conditions:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, its territories, or the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
FEMA encourages those who incurred these expenses to obtain and keep certain records. This includes a death certificate, funeral cost documentation, and proof of funds from other sources used to pay the funeral costs. Benefits from burial or funeral insurance and financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources cannot be reimbursed.
For more information, visit FEMA's funeral assistance information site or call the FEMA funeral assistance hotline. They are available 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be reached at 1-844-684-6333 or TTY at 1-800-462-7585.
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