FEMA offers help with pandemic-related funeral costs

D.C. region residents can now seek financial assistance from the federal government for funeral expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic.

People who have lost a loved one to the pandemic can seek financial help with funeral arrangements, interment or cremation through a new national program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Applications opened Monday, April 12. To apply, call FEMA’s COVID-19 funeral assistance line at 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) during weekdays between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. eastern time.

“At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters,” said acting FEMA administrator Bob Fenton.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate.”

To be considered eligible, applicants must have incurred funeral-related expenses for a death attributed to COVID-19 after Jan. 20, 2020, within the U.S. or its territories.

Assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and up to $35,500 per application; a person can apply for multiple deceased individuals.

Applicants are encouraged to keep related documents on hand for the approval process — including an official death certificate attributing the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19, expense receipts and funeral home contracts. They’ll also need to note any money or compensation received from other sources, such as insurance.

See FEMA’s website for more information on eligibility.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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