FEMA to provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses

March 23, 2021 /

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, the organization announced Monday on its website.

FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April 2021. This was made possible under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families,” FEMA said on its website. “At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.”

FEMA is working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways they can best provide assistance. Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.

In order to be eligible for funeral assistance, one must meet these conditions: 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 resident 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 resident.

Those eligible can apply for funeral assistance in April. Those who have already incurred funeral expenses can show documentation, including an official death certificate, funeral expenses documents, and proof of funds received from other sources.

Those who are eligible and apply will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.

There have been 1,094 COVID-19-related deaths in Kern County. Nearly 60 percent of the deaths were identified as Hispanic, and the majority are 65 and older.