On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, announced that starting this week, FEMA is now accepting applications for funeral assistance for individuals who lost loved ones to COVID-19.
Rep. Carbajal voted to pass the funeral assistance program as part of the American Rescue Plan.
“No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, but I’m hopeful this assistance will help ease the financial burden on those experiencing the compounded pain of grief and a global pandemic,” said Rep. Carbajal.
Central Coast residents who paid for funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 — for an individual whose death may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19 — can apply for up to $9,000 in assistance per funeral through FEMA’s dedicated call center. Each eligible applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien who paid for funeral expenses after Jan. 20, and the funeral expenses were for an individual whose death was in the U.S., territories or the District of Columbia, and may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19.
Individuals may apply for assistance for multiple funerals.
The applicant responsible for COVID-19 funeral expenses will need to provide the following information below when they call FEMA to register for assistance: Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual; date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual; current mailing address for the applicant; current telephone number for the applicant; location or address where the deceased individual passed away; information about burial or funeral insurance policies; information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations; CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations; and the routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested).
FEMA recommends gathering this information ahead of the application process.
Funeral homes are not eligible to apply on behalf of a family or to be a co-applicant on the Funeral Assistance application. The person applying must be an individual, not a business, who incurred the funeral expenses, according to FEMA’s website.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation, and any receipts received for expenses that are not related to funeral services will not be determined eligible expenses.
Expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation typically 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; and additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances.
Contact the FEMA call center at 844-684-6333 or through TeleTYpe at 800-462-7585, any time between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT Monday through Friday to apply. No online applications will be accepted. Multilingual services will be available.
Visit fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance/faq to learn more about the program.