FEMA Announces Funeral Assistance for Families with Loved Ones Who Have Passed Away Due to COVID-19

FEMA is now providing financial assistance for COVID-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. To be eligible, the following conditions must be met:

  • 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
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. However, there is no requirement for the decedent to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien

If you are eligible for assistance, you should gather and keep the following information:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia
  • Funeral expense documentation, such as receipts, funeral home contracts, etc., that include the applicant’s name, the decedent’s name, the amount of funeral expenses incurred and the dates on which they were incurred
  • Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. FEMA is not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources

To apply, call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number at 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 AM-9 PM eastern time. You can learn more by visiting https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.

Please be aware that FEMA has received reports of scammers contacting people with offers to help them register for funeral assistance. FEMA has not sent any notifications of this nature and will never contact people before they register for assistance.



Should You Use a Funeral Planning Declaration with Your Estate Planning Documents?

Do you want to make things as easy as possible for your loved ones? While it’s an uncomfortable topic to think about your own mortality, an easier way to approach these concepts includes thinking about how you want to help your family members adjust.

Estate planning involves all of the different documents that help to address your care while you’re alive, such as a power of attorney but also what happens to your property after you pass away.

Some of these issues require management after you have passed away, such as moving your case through probate. This process can be long and can extend for many months or even years for very complex estates. There are some urgent pressing matters, however, with regard to your estate plan immediately after you pass away. It is not a good idea to store some of the long-term information, such as your will in the same place that you might keep a document, such as a funeral planning declaration.

A funeral planning declaration is a document that should be easily accessible by key family members immediately after you pass away. It concerns your wishes about whether you would like to be buried or cremated and any other specific instructions that you have. Since this needs to be located very quickly after you pass away, family members or friends should know where to find it so that they can carry out your wishes.

Some of the most critical decisions that are made in the hours or days after you pass away cannot be undone and, therefore, if you have specific wishes about what happens with your body, you need to be sure that you have not only documented this but made sure that that information is accessible to your family members.

Having a relationship with a VA Beach estate planning lawyer is the first step towards ensuring that you have covered all the bases and set your loved ones up to get help when you pass away.