Application period opens for FEMA’s COVID-19 funeral assistance program
Assistance will be limited to $9,000 per funeral
Families struggling to pay for coronavirus-related funeral expenses can officially apply for financial help through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Applications for the agency's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program opened April 12 to help "ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus," according to FEMA.
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As part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is able to provide assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters," the website reads.
It is possible to ask for assistance for multiple people who have died from the virus, according to the agency. However, assistance will be limited to $9,000 per funeral and $35,500 per application.
The funds are to be used for funeral or cremation services, including transporting the individual or their remains, the casket or urn, headstone, burial plots, cremation niche and arrangement of the funeral ceremony as well as clergy or officiant services.
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Potential recipients need to call a toll-free phone number in order to complete the application with a FEMA representative.
If eligible, recipients can either receive the funds by mail or they can opt for direct deposit.
As of now, there is no deadline to apply. However, "FEMA will communicate a specific deadline once established," according to its website.
The agency has already received reports of scammers that are reaching out to individuals to help register them for assistance. FEMA said it does not contact people "before they register for assistance."