Grieving the death of a loved one is stressful, and other stressors, such as financial pressures, health issues, or job or home loss, can preoccupy our thoughts, making it difficult to focus on our grief. The resources on this page have been gathered to assist you with day-to-day needs and help you manage during these challenging times.
FEMA Funeral Assistance for COVID-related Deaths
Updated April 12, 2021
Two pieces of legislation recently passed by Congress, authorized FEMA to provide financial assistance to families that incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses after January 20, 2020 (the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021). In April, FEMA will begin accepting applications for reimbursement of funeral expenses; families are eligible to receive up to $9,000 per funeral.
If a family had COVID-19 funeral expenses, they should visit the FEMA website to learn more about the funeral reimbursement program and the documentation they will need to submit with their application:
Note (as of April 12, 2021): FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is open to eligible applicants across the entire U.S., its territories and the District of Columbia. As a result, FEMA is experiencing a high volume of calls to the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline. Applicants calling may receive a busy signal or longer-than-normal wait times. There is no deadline to apply for FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance. Applicants’ patience would be appreciated as we are giving each caller the care and attention they deserve.
There are a few pieces of documentation that families will need to provide as part of their application:
- A copy of the death certificate showing their loved one’s death "may have been caused by" or "was likely a result of" COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms.
- Proof of funeral expenses they incurred, such as receipts or a funeral home contract.
Eligible funeral expenses include:
- 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.
If an applicant received reimbursement for or assistance with funeral expenses through a government agency, voluntary agency, non-profit, or burial or funeral insurance, they cannot resubmit those same expenses for reimbursement through the FEMA-administered program. If a family received any outside assistance, they must include documentation of this assistance in their application.
Note: Reimbursement requests must be submitted to FEMA. Remembering A Life and the National Funeral Directors Association do not have a role in facilitating or processing these claims.
Also Note: Funeral directors do not have the authority to change a death certificate in order to qualify for reimbursement; only the person originally certified the death (local coroner or medical examiner) has the authority to do so.
The American Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center
The American Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center provides critical support resources to individuals and families following the death of a family member due to COVID-19. The assistance center’s extensive national and local resources include emotional support and grief counseling; faith-based resources; funeral information; legal resources; financial information resources; and veterans’ assistance; plus online community resilience training and individual and group emotional support for frontline workers. In addition, a team of specially-trained volunteers is available by calling toll-free 822-492-0094 or through a call-back program. Red Cross volunteers assist individuals with emotional and spiritual support, assistance with basic medical questions, and access to community resources.
Important Information for Families of First Responders, Frontline Healthcare Workers and Volunteers During the Pandemic
The Brave of Heart Fund
The Brave of Heart Fund was established by The New York Life Foundation and Cigna Foundation to provide monetary grants to eligible family members of frontline healthcare workers and healthcare volunteers who lose their lives because of COVID 19. The cash grant awards will provide basic and continuing financial support for common needs, such as funeral costs, medical care, counseling, food, educational expenses of children and other dependents currently in school, mortgage or rent payments, and immediate living expenses, as these family members manage the impact of the COVID 19 crisis and begin to move forward.
To learn more, verify eligibility or donate to the fund, visit braveofheartfund.com
First Responders Children's Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund
First Responders Children’s Foundation awards grants to individuals and to public safety agencies. Grants to individuals support children who have endured financial hardship and whose first responder parents have lost their lives or sustained serious injuries in the line of duty. Grants to public safety agencies support programs created and operated by first responders that impact children and the communities in which they live.
First responders are paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters, and employees directly supporting police and fire departments such as 911 dispatchers. The brave medical personnel and staff of the emergency services of the hospitals and health facilities that are treating COVID-19 patients shall be deemed first responders for the purpose of being eligible for grants from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
To learn more, verify eligibility or donate to the fund, visit the First Responders Children's Foundation website.