By now, you’ve likely heard about the financial assistance offered by FEMA to help families cover funeral costs if a relative has died of Covid-19. As a funeral director, you need to be prepared to answer families’ questions about this program—and understand what it means for your funeral home. We’ve rounded up some of the most common questions asked by funeral professionals and grieving families to help you with the process.
What is the FEMA funeral assistance program?
The FEMA funeral assistance program was created to lend financial aid to people who experienced a loss due to Covid-19 at any point after January 20, 2020. It will reimburse out-of-pocket funeral expenses up to $9,000 for any death related to Covid-19.
Who qualifies for reimbursement?
Visit the FEMA website for a clear list of eligibility criteria. Most importantly, the death must be attributed to Covid-19 on the death certificate, and the funeral expenses must have been incurred after January 20, 2020 to be reimbursable. Additionally, the death must have occurred in the United States or its territories.
How do families receive funds?
FEMA reimburses families for funeral expenses, either by a mailed check or direct deposit. During the application process, the family will have the opportunity to choose how they receive their funds.
Is there an application deadline?
Not currently, although FEMA may announce a deadline in the future.
Does the decedent need to be a U.S. citizen?
No. FEMA makes no citizenship requirement of the decedent. However, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien. Additionally, the applicant must be able to prove that the Covid-19-related death occurred in the United States or one of its territories.
What types of services are covered?
With proper documentation, FEMA will reimburse the cost of many funeral services, including popular add-on services. Eligible expenses include:
- Arrangement of the funeral ceremony
- An urn or casket
- Fees charged by a clergyperson or other funeral officiant
- Fees charged by a funeral home for use of its facilities, equipment, and staff
A full list of reimbursable expenses is available on the FEMA website.
Can a family be reimbursed if they’ve financed a funeral through LendingUSA?
Yes! A family who financed a funeral through LendingUSA may still submit their receipts and other documentation to FEMA to receive their reimbursement and use it to pay off their loan. As an added benefit, loans through LendingUSA don’t have any loan prepayment penalties.
What’s the best way to apply?
Right now, applications are only available by calling FEMA’s dedicated hotline at 844-684-6333. A qualified representative will guide the applicant through the process, which typically takes about 20 minutes. Funeral directors may not apply on behalf of a family. Generally, only one person per decedent may apply, however FEMA will allow for one co-applicant. If other family members shared funeral expenses, they can coordinate amongst themselves to determine which individual(s) will manage the application process.
FEMA has recently become aware of fraudulent emails, phone calls, and other communications designed to appear as though they are coming from FEMA. Please be aware that FEMA will never contact families before they receive assistance, and families should not share any personal information unless it’s through an established FEMA channel, like their hotline.
LendingUSA is here to help. For more information on how FEMA funeral assistance may impact you or your families, call us toll-free at 888-400-7566.
For informational purposes only