The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized $2 billion to provide financial assistance to families who paid for funeral costs specifically related to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The reimbursement applies to funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. Claims are capped at $9,000.
Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium will provide our New Hampshire and Vermont families updated information and guidance for the reimbursement of funeral expenses. For example, Phaenuf can provide families with itemized funeral receipts and assist with procuring a death certificate.
“Phaneuf has assisted more than 275 families of people who died from COVID-19,” said Buddy Phaneuf, President of Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium. “Our care for families doesn’t end with a funeral service. We want to help them in any way we can, including guiding them through this funeral reimbursement process.”
The reimbursement process begins by making a phone call. FEMA will open a toll-free number for families to initiate the reimbursement on Monday, April 12, 2021:
- 844-684-6333 ● TTY: 800-462-7585 ● Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET
In the meantime, families who used Phaneuf Funeral Homes for their arrangements may fill out the form linked here, and a Phaneuf representative will be in touch as soon as more information is available.
FEMA has provided additional information about the funeral reimbursement plan:
How to Apply
In April 2021, FEMA will begin accepting applications. FEMA will release a toll-free number for an applicant to call and begin the reimbursement process.
Information FEMA will ask for in the call:
- Household income (there is no income requirement to apply)
- Social security number for both the applicant and deceased
- Information about funeral expenses you paid for
- Bank routing info for direct deposit reimbursement
Following the call, FEMA will send a Request for Information letter, which includes access to a secure website login for applicants to upload documents and complete the process. Applicants will be required to upload funeral-related expenses files (in PDF or JPG file formats) to the secure website.
Gather and Keep Documentation
Please have easy access to any documentation related to funeral expenses as this will speed the process of reimbursement. Types of information may include:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
- Funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount paid, and the dates the funeral expenses were paid.
- Pre-paid arrangements are not reimbursable
- Life insurance assignments made prior to or at the time of death may be reimbursable.
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 on or after January 1, 2020.
- 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 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. FEMA will verify applicant eligibility prior to awarding funeral assistance.
Eligible Funeral Service Expenses
These include, but are not limited to:
- Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the decedent
- 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
- Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates
- Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances
- FEMA will only award Funeral Assistance for a deceased through a single application. If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they must register with FEMA as the applicant and co-applicant. Alternatively, the first applicant that submits all required documentation will be awarded the Funeral Assistance for the deceased.
- Applicants responsible for funeral expenses for multiple deceased may receive assistance under multiple registrations if the deaths occurred in different States and Territories. Each registration will be associated with the major disaster declaration for the State or Territory in which the death occurred.
- Benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources are not eligible for reimbursement.
- Fraud Alert: FEMA have received reports of scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance. FEMA has not sent any such notifications and will not contact people prior to them registering for assistance.
- Currently, FEMA has no deadline for applying for funeral assistance.
Phaneuf will update the page linked here with updated information from FEMA as it becomes available.