FEMA announced Tuesday it has provided over $2 billion in COVID-19 funeral assistance to support more than 300,000 applicants grappling with the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic. FEMA is also launching a new outreach campaign and continuing to process applications to ensure that this program — already the largest offering of funeral assistance in FEMA’s history — reaches additional eligible families in need.
“FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program has helped provide over 300,000 people with critical financial relief during a time of such unexpected, unimaginable and wide spread loss,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Our new outreach campaign is designed to reach families, especially across underserved communities, where the cost of a funeral can be a financial burden to a loved one. Our goal is to help families apply for assistance, as well as submit all required documents for existing applications.”
Committed to reaching all affected communities, the agency will begin a targeted paid media campaign this month. FEMA recently hired a media contractor to tailor media efforts to reach the most impactful population-specific outlets.
These new paid advertisements will be directed to localities identified with high rates of COVID-related deaths, low funeral assistance application rates and high Social Vulnerability Index data.
The advertisements will help ensure information about FEMA’s funeral assistance reaches underserved communities that have experienced a high COVID-19 death rate but have low registrations for assistance.
The four selected areas will be in California, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.
FEMA is also hosting media roundtables with several community outlets in African American, Hispanic and Latino and Asian American Pacific Islander communities to encourage local press to help spread the word about the Funeral Assistance program. Additionally, FEMA’s multilingual services, available through the Funeral Assistance Helpline, has provided assistance in 76 different languages when requested by the caller.
Eligible applicants may qualify for up to $9,000 for each deceased individual per application, with a maximum of $35,000 for families who may have multiple funeral expenses due to COVID-19. Since the assistance began on April 12, 2021, the average amount of assistance awarded is $6,500.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the President’s American Rescue Plan gave FEMA the authority to provide COVID-19 funeral assistance and provided the funds for this program.
Additional information, including eligibility requirements, can be found at COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | FEMA.gov. People who incurred funeral expenses related to a COVID-19-related death in the United States or its territories on or after Jan. 20, 2020, can also apply by calling 888-684-6333, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT.
Please find state-specific information at FEMA.