As of February 28, FEMA has approved over $ 1.9 billion in assistance to help people with COVID-19-related funeral expenses. While the assistance we provide can never replace the loss of a loved one, FEMA is working tirelessly with applicants to alleviate some of the burden of this devastating pandemic.
The positive effects of COVID-19 Funeral Assistance are evident in the stories we hear from the people we serve. These are excerpts from just a few of the letters from people who have applied COVID-19 Funeral Assistance:
“I just received my deposit from FEMA Disaster Assistance. This deposit covers both funeral and funeral expenses for my mother who died of COVID. She fought bravely against the virus… it is very hard to accept that she is no longer among us. That is why I am sending this letter to FEMA to show my deepest gratitude for the financial assistance with funeral and funeral expenses that I have received. “
“I would like to thank you for taking the time to review our family’s application for reimbursement of funds for my father’s funeral. My father was a phenomenal person and I thank you, FEMA, for taking his passing in such respects. We are grateful. ”
“I would like to thank the agent for her professional skill in helping me with the COVID funeral process … The agent made this process, well enjoyable, if that word can be linked to the process at all … she helped in a way that lifted some of “They strain my shoulders. In my career, I often never get any positive feedback, and I’m sure it’s the same with FEMA and those on the front lines of the phones.”
This is the first time in the agency’s history that FEMA has provided funeral assistance to all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia at the same time. This financial assistance program is funded by both the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
To capture all relevant information and ensure personal, empathetic and considerate customer service, FEMA only accepts applications for COVID-19 funeral assistance by telephone.
FEMA reaches out to underserved and vulnerable populations to ensure that aid is distributed fairly. Our targeted deployment includes notifications in areas with high COVID-19-related deaths, contacting applicants to encourage them to submit documents and complete applications, and provide interpreters in over 75 languages.
We have recently hired a contractor to tailor media efforts aimed at better educating communities on how to apply for help and how to submit all necessary documents to existing applications.
In addition to these efforts, we look directly for applicants who answer questions and help them complete applications. FEMA Helpline representatives have made over 61,000 calls to individuals who lacked the documents needed to process their application, and have sent over 525,000 letters to applicants.
FEMA constantly reviews and evaluates COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, adapts and revises our processes to improve service. We examine data to see if there are barriers to assistance, and we look for ways to reach more people by making improvements to increase dissemination, processing, fairness, and inclusion.
While FEMA and the entire nation continue to monitor and adapt to the ongoing and changing demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing remains unchanged: the commitment of FEMA staff. Guideline representatives continue to demonstrate FEMA’s core values of compassion, fairness, integrity and respect in their daily contact with applicants.
To apply, contact the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 844-684-6333, Monday through Friday at 9-21 EST. Individuals using a relay service are encouraged to provide FEMA with the specific number assigned to them so that FEMA representatives can contact them.