The U.S. federal government has approved funding for a significant reimbursement program for Covid-19-related funeral costs.The assistance is part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.

Congress has allocated $2 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse individuals and households for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred between January 20 and December 31, 2020.

If you lost a loved one to Covid-19 in 2020 and paid for a funeral, you may be eligible for this reimbursement program, which opens on April 12, 2021.

Here is the latest FEMA Guidance (as of June 30, 2021) on eligibility and qualifying expenses:

To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19, UNLESS the death occurred between January 20, 2020 and May 16, 2020, in which case a statement or letter from the death certificate’s certifying official, medical examiner, or coroner that attributes the death to COVID-19 must be submitted with the death certificate. The written statement must show causal pathway, or an explanation, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to the virus.
  • 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.

Eligible funeral expenses include but are not limited to:

  • Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual
  • Transfer of remains
  • Casket or urn
  • Burial plot or cremation niche
  • Marker or headstone
  • Clergy or officiant services
  • Arrangement of the funeral ceremony
  • Use of funeral home equipment or staff
  • Cremation or interment costs
  • Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates
  • Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances.

How to Apply

FEMA will begin accepting applications on April 12, 2021 via phone to their special phone bank for this program: 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time.

What information do I need to provide when I register for reimbursement?

The applicant responsible for COVID-19 funeral expenses will need to provide the following information below when they call FEMA to register for assistance. We recommend gathering this information now as FEMA prepares to open the application process.

  • Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Current mailing address for the applicant
  • Current telephone number for the applicant
  • Location or address where the deceased individual passed away
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
  • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations
  • Record of any previous CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations
  • Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)

What documentation do I need?

You must provide a copy of the death certificate, proof of funeral expenses incurred, and proof of assistance received from any other source.

  • The death certificate must indicate the death was caused by, “may have been caused by” or “was likely a result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
  • The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia.
  • COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is not available for the funeral expenses of U.S. citizens who died outside the United States.
  • Documentation for expenses (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) must include the applicant’s name as the person responsible for the expense, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and that funeral expenses were incurred after January 20, 2020.
  • The applicant must also provide FEMA with proof of funds received from other sources specifically used for funeral costs. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance or financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government programs or agencies, or other sources. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will be reduced by the amount of other assistance the applicant received for the same expenses.
  • Life insurance proceeds are not considered a duplication of Funeral Assistance benefits.

How are Funds Received

If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a FEMA check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.

Fraud Alert

FEMA has already received reports of scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance. FEMA has not sent any such notifications and FEMA will not contact people prior to them registering for assistance. This is a citizen-initiated process. FEMA does not have your name or contact information until you share it with them in an application. Do not respond to unsolicited calls or letters in the mail claiming to help you obtain this funding.

Call us at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home for assistance, 847-741-1128.

Stay Updated

Be sure you have subscribed to our email list (scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email), because we will send out a link to the application once it has been made available.

If you have any questions, please give us a call, 847-741-1128