COVID Funeral Assistance Program
The Covid-19 pandemic brought unprecedented levels of grief and upheaval to our communities. These extraordinary times have created a confluence of factors which have placed tremendous amounts of both financial and emotion stress on everyone. Often, such burdens have meant that too many families have had to say goodbye to loved ones sooner, more often, and unexpectedly. With these sudden expenses creating even more significant financial burdens on families meaning that they could not complete funeral services as they would have wanted due to the extraordinary circumstances. Now though, families have the help to ease funeral related burdens in the coming weeks via a new program through FEMA.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, FEMA will now provide assistance for funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020 for someone who died of Covid-19 or coronavirus-related causes. The program is an opportunity for families who could not complete their funeral or memorial services at the time of death due to the unforeseen financial burdens. This new program will begin to take applications beginning April 12, 2021 and is set to continue through the foreseeable future.
Under the new Funeral Assistance Program, families are now able to apply for reimbursement of funeral expenses incurred up to $9,000 per funeral with a maximum of $35,500 per application. The program’s main goal is to help families manage expenses directly related to funeral services and interment or cremation. In practice, the program will reimburse expenses such as funeral services, clergy/officiant services, the transfer of remains, caskets or urns, burial plots or cremation niches, markers or headstones and the costs of up to five (5) death certificates. The program also covers similar costs involved with reinterment. The program, however, will not cover expenses not tied directly to funeral services themselves. This includes expenses incurred for obituaries, flowers, printed materials (e.g., programs), catering, transportation to funeral services, or any gratuities.
Anyone interested in participating must register via phone at 844-684-6333. However, funeral directors cannot directly apply for reimbursement of expenses. Families must apply themselves. To help ensure a smooth application process we are encouraging families to save the following documents, which are necessary for your application: an official death certificate, all funeral expense documents (including receipts or contracts), and proof of any funds received from other sources that were specifically used toward funeral costs. For a full list of eligible expenses and application information please visit the FEMA website. Those with further questions, feel free to reach out to our team and we will do our best to provide the requisite guidance.
William J. Boglioli
N.J. Lic. No. 3652