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FEMA Funeral Assistance

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Congress authorized FEMA to provide financial assistance to individuals who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. On March 24, FEMA has issued its final policy – which includes details such as eligibility and documentation criteria and the application process – for how funds will be distributed to families. Most notably, FEMA shared that the maximum financial assistance will now be $9,000 per funeral.

Families will be able to begin applying for assistance on April 12, 2021.

FEMA will only award COVID-19 Funeral Assistance for a deceased individual on a single application. If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should register under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. The applicant or co-applicant must have incurred the funeral expenses. The deceased individual’s documentation status is not considered as part of the reimbursement process, but the applicant(s) must be U.S. citizens, legal residents, asylees, refugees, or non-citizen nationals.

Families should begin deciding who the applicant and any co-applicants will be and gather the documents they need to be reimbursed for expenses.

Specifically, the applicant must provide the following documents:

  • A copy of the death certificate. The death certificate must indicate the death "may have been caused by" or "was likely a result of" COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are also considered sufficient.

  • Proof of funeral expenses incurred. Documentation (e.g., receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) must include the applicant's name as the responsible person for the expense, the decedent’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and that funeral expenses were incurred after January 20, 2020.

Eligible funeral expenses include but are not limited to:

  • Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual

  • Transfer of remains

  • Casket or urn

  • Burial plot or cremation niche

  • Marker or headstone

  • Clergy or officiant services

  • Arrangement of the funeral ceremony

  • Use of funeral home equipment or staff

  • Cremation or interment costs

  • Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates

  • Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances

If applicants already received reimbursement for certain funeral expenses through government agencies, voluntary agencies, non-profits, burial or funeral insurance, they cannot resubmit those same expenses for reimbursement through this FEMA-administered program. If they received any outside assistance, they must include documentation of this assistance in their application. If they received financial assistance through the deceased’s life insurance policy, they may still apply for reimbursement.

How Funds are Received:

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

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number

Applications begin on April 12, 2021

844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation:

Monday - Friday

8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time

PA DOH SRN 2021-04: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance from FEMA

The PA Department of Health (DOH) issued a State Registrar notice noting information on the guidance medical certifiers received last year on certifying a death attributed to COVID-19. The SRN also addresses the process and required documentation needed for a medical certifier to amend a death record in order to add COVID-19 as attributing to the death. Read SRN-2021-04 here.

New One-Page Flyer from FEMA

FEMA has created a one-page flyer for you to provide to those requesting information. The flyer provides a comprehensive overview of FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program and can be shared by mail or email. Click here to download the flyer.

FEMA YouTube Video Explaining Funeral Assistance Program

FEMA has released a 9 minute video explaining the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance benefit. You can share the video link with consumers, add it to your website, and share on social media channels. Watch FEMA's Video: Providing Financial Assistance for COVID-19-Related Funeral Expenses

Additional Resources:

Covid-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number: 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance 

Funeral Assistance FAQ

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Individuals and Households Program Policy (Interim)

FEMA to Help Pay Funeral Costs for COVID-19-Related Deaths (FEMA news release)

If anyone has any questions concerning this issue, please contact Roupp Funeral Home: 570-966-2402 or

Visit the CDC Coronavirus page to get the latest information on how to protect yourself and others and what to do if you think you are sick.

FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance for reimbursements has been described as a lengthy and detail-oriented application process. For that reason, they've compiled a Pre-Call Checklist for families to access to ensure they have the information they need during the phone call, whenever they decide to apply. Check out the Pre-Call Checklist below:


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