Lost a loved one from COVID-19? New FEMA program can reimburse funeral expenses

BROOKLYN, NY – New York Congresswoman Alexandria  Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders held a pandemic press conference to announce their support for a provision in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act that allocated two billion dollars to provide funeral cost reimbursement for families who buried lost loved ones and cannot afford to pay for funeral expenses.

“When you suddenly lose a loved one, you’re talking about an expense of four, five, seven, ten thousand dollars, then during COVID, with overrun funeral facilities, families are also being with having to deal with paying for the storage of the bodies of their loved ones,” Cortez said. “This is wrong.”

Under the program, FEMA can provide reimbursements for such expenses incurred through December 31, 2020, at a 100% federal cost-share.

“FEMA will be operating & is authorized for $2 billion as of now. The program is retroactive & will reimburse back to January 2020. Start collecting docs now. FEMA will need expense documentation (receipts/invoices), a death certificate, & docs for caller ID. Includes the undocumented.”

The program covers expenses from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, only. It does not cover 2021 expenses.

Costs covered including remains transfers, caskets/urns, burial plots, headstones, mandated expenses, transportation to funeral services, internment, funeral services, clergy fees, death certificates, reinternment, and the costs associated with identifying human remains.

You cannot be reimbursed for flowers, obituaries, mass cards, catering, or gratuities.