By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released its policy for the program and the application program for relief is expected to start on April 12.
The maximum amount of financial aid available is $9,000 per funeral. Those applicants with multiple deceased individuals can receive up to a maximum of $35,500 per application.
FEMA warns the bereaved to beware of scammers. FEMA has received reports of scammers reaching out individuals claiming to offer help applying for this funeral assistance. If anyone contacts you about this program before you have personally registered for aid, it is a scam. FEMA will not contact you prior to registration. Please protect yourself and do not share funeral-related documentation.
FEMA federal funeral assistance can be used to help with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.
Beginning April 12, 2021, FEMA will start taking calls for assistance with applying for funeral aid. Call 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday.
According to FEMA, a death must meet at least these criteria to qualify for aid:
- The death certificate must indicate the death was caused by COVID-19
- The death happened in the United States, including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories
- The person applying for funeral assistance must be either a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen national or a qualified alien who incurred the funeral expenses after January 20, 2020
Please note there is no requirement that the deceased person was a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien.
If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses last year, 2020, make sure to gather documentation for all of your costs. Please include:
- An official death certificate that ties the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows the death occurred in the United States, including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories
- Funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include your name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of the funeral expenses, and the dates those expenses were incurred.
- Proof of funds received from other sources that went specifically toward the cost of the funeral.
The COVID-19 assistance program will not be able to give money or reimburse applicants for costs that were paid for by burial or funeral insurance or with financial aid received from voluntary agencies, government agencies or other sources.
If you qualify for funeral assistance, you may choose to receive a payment by mail or through direct deposit when you apply for aid.
For more information on burial assistance programs, please visit: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/burial-assistance.page