Relief Comes for Funeral Related Expenses

April 1, 2021

By J. Lee Brown

Beginning today, under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral/cremation expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. 

The assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application (i.e., an applicant may apply for assistance for multiple deaths). Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • 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.

It is anticipated that FEMA will establish an 800 telephone number for application purposes in April. The following documentation will likely be required:

  • An official death certificate.
  • Funeral expense documentation that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of the funeral expenses, and date the funeral expenses occurred.
  • Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. FEMA will not duplicate benefits from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

If eligibility requirements are met, the applicant will receive a check by mail or funds by direct deposit, depending on the option chosen on the application.

Visit FEMA's website for more information.

J. Lee Brown is the head of the firm's Trust and Estate Planning Practice Group, serves on the Management Committee, and is a Fellow and State Chair of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Lee concentrates his practice on estate planning, tax, corporate, and nonprofit matters. He serves private clients in the areas of estate planning, wills and trusts (including multi-generational trusts), probate, small business planning, life insurance planning, asset protection, administration of trusts and estates, charitable giving, and the formation of tax-exempt organizations. He counsels corporate and business clients regarding tax planning, corporate and entity formation, and related matters. 

Disclaimer: The information included here is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for legal advice nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel. For more information or if you have further questions, please contact one of our Attorneys.