In just over a year, nearly 34,000 Floridians have died from COVID-19, with more than 1500 of those deaths in Pinellas County.
While the personal loss is incalculable, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is looking to help relieve the financial burden.
In April, as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will start providing financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses.
“We are working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways we can best provide this assistance,” according to the FEMA website, “and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities … Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible.”
As the details become clearer, FEMA encourages those who have COVID-19 funeral expenses to keep and gather documentation – including an official death certificate, funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.), and proof of funds received from other sources used toward funeral costs.
FEMA notes that the reimbursement will not duplicate benefits from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.
FEMA will begin accepting applications for Funeral Assistance on Monday, April 12, through a dedicated call center, at 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585), Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Who is Eligible?
The death must have occurred in the U.S. (including in the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia), and the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals or qualified aliens, however there is no requirement for the deceased to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien.