COVID-19 is an unprecedented global pandemic that has impacted all aspects of normal life. To defray expenses for those hit the hardest by COVID-19, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reimbursing funeral expenses for deaths attributable to COVID-19. Applicants may receive up to $9,000 per deceased individual, and may receive up to $35,500 in cases where funeral expenses were incurred for multiple deceased individuals in a single state or territory. This program is part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Despite the broad list of covered expenses, FEMA will not provide financial that duplicates any pre-death source of funding designated specifically to pay for funeral expenses, such as:
Thus, any granted FEMA financial assistance for eligible expenses will be reduced by the amount of duplicative assistance received for the same expenses that were pre-paid and pre-planned before the COVID-19 death. However, life insurance proceeds, death gratuities, or other forms of assistance not specifically intended to defray funeral costs will not reduce FEMA’s financial assistance, as these are not considered to be an impermissible duplication of benefits. Further, if your funeral expenses exceeded the pre-paid funding intended to pay these costs, FEMA may evaluate your receipts and other documentation to reimburse you for any eligible costs not actually paid by duplicative funds. For example, if you incur expenses for a $10,000 funeral where the funeral or burial insurance only covered $8,000, you may be eligible for $2,000 of assistance.
A minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien may apply for assistance. However, minor children applying on behalf of an adult who is not a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien are not eligible for assistance. States, tribes, territories, businesses, organizations, and other entities, such as funeral homes, may not apply or apply on an applicant’s behalf. An applicant is not eligible if applicant is a temporary tourist visa holder, foreign student, or temporary work visa holder, or citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. FEMA does not consider household income when determining eligibility.
It may take up to 14 days for the materials to appear in your case file. If your application is granted, you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you chose when you applied for assistance. If your application is denied, you may file an appeal within 60 days from the date of the decision letter denying your application.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impose hardships on people across the nation and world, various programs and financial assistance are available for qualifying individuals. To avoid costly mistakes and protect your assets for generations to come, it is important to discuss your trust and estate planning strategies with a qualified attorney.