Starting April, families can apply for federal assistance to cover COVID-19-related funerals

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Posted at 4:38 PM, Mar 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-21 18:44:35-04

BILLINGS — Starting in April, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will accept applications to provide up to $7,000 to cover funeral expenses for people who have died of COVID-19, according to the federal agency's web site.

The funeral assistance money was appropriated under the last two federal COVID-19 relief bills: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations act of 2021, and American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

WABC TV in New York reported last month that people will be eligible to receive up to $7,000 to cover funeral costs, but there's no mention of the total amount people can receive on FEMA's web site yet.

The criteria FEMA will use to decide who to give money to is also not known at this time.

The FEMA web site does state that applications will begin to be accepted in April, and there will be a phone number posted to the site to help people apply. Click here to find the FEMA page to keep an eye on for more information.

Here's a list of qualifications that must be met to be eligible for the funeral assistance:

  • 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.
  • There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

People hoping to apply should gather some documentation to send to FEMA. First is an official death certificate that attributes the death indirectly or directly to COVID-19 and shows the death occurred in the U.S. or its territories.
FEMA will need funeral expense documents that include the applicant's name, deceased person's name, amount paid for funeral expenses and the date the funeral occurred.

Lastly, FEMA will need proof of funeral money gained from other sources. The federal agency will not pay on top of money already received from other government agencies or sources, the FEMA site states.

Funeral assistance will be given out via a check in the mail or by direct deposit, depending on which method the applicant chooses.

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