Families encouraged to apply for COVID-19 funeral reimbursement

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By Carol McIntire Editor

Are residents who lost a family member due to COVID-19 may be eligible for reimbursement for funeral expenses under a program announced last week by Carroll County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Tom Cottis.

Cottis made the announcement during the April 1 meeting of county commissioners, saying the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing the assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic.

“This is big news from FEMA and I encourage county families who think they may be eligible to apply,” Cottis said. “This is one way to help those families who lost loved ones and are suffering financially because of the cost of the funeral.”

“At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters,” said Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton in a release announcing the program. “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 eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states:

  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
  • If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual. 
  • An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
  • The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
  • This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application (more than one family member died).  
  • Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.

Applicants must have the following documentation:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
  • Funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
  • Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs.  Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies, or other sources.

For information, call 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

FEMA encourages persons interested in applying for the program to watch videos available at https://www.fema.gov/…/coro…/economic/funeral-assistance – FEMA’s Webpage for the program – and  https://youtu.be/DgvN_9m58Z0 – FEMA’s YouTube instructional video on the application process.

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