by Photo courtesy of FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a program to help with funeral costs for surviving relatives of fatal victims of coronavirus. 

A plan was approved by FEMA to help families of those who lost their lives due to the pandemic to pay for funeral expenses. Although the program was approved in June, it is retroactive to January 2020. 

“FEMA provides financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred as of January 20, 2020,” the agency said on the day President Joe Biden took office. 

A toll-free number is available to those who need assistance. FEMA representatives answer the program by phone from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. (PST) at 1-844-684-6333.

There are operators in 12 languages, including Spanish, that may assist those in need. 

Documentation of an official death certificate, showing that the death occurred in the United States is required of those seeking assistance. 

If the death occurred between Jan.20, 2020 and May 16, 2020, the certificate will need to attribute whether the death is directly or indirectly due to COVID-19, and the certificate will have to be accompanied by a statement signed by the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner. That information can be obtained by calling 211.

If the death was after May 16 of last year, the certificate will only need to attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19. 

Those eligible for funeral assistance will receive funds through direct deposit or a check in the mail, depending on the option chosen when applying for assistance. 

Families of deceased individuals who were undocumented could receive aid because FEMA doesn't establish a requirement in the death certificate about the immigration status of those victim to COVID-19. 

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