The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be offering assistance soon to offer financial assistance in the way funeral expenses for those who have lost loved ones do to COVID-19.

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.

“We are working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways we can best provide this assistance, and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities.” a FEMA spokesperson revealed. “FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April.”

A total of 11,709 Tennesseans have died as result of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. That number includes 117 from Coffee County as of the first of this week.

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.

FEMA is working to set up a dedicated toll-free phone number that can be used to apply for funeral assistance. More information will be available on the FEMA page soon. 

Who is Eligible? 

To be eligible for funeral assistance, you 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 alien 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 alien. 

How to Apply 

In April, FEMA will begin accepting applications. If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:

An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.

Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources. 

How are funds 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.