FEMA announces stimulus money to help offset funeral costs if a loved one died from COVID
April 12 – As part of last year’s stimulus package, if you have a loved one who passed away from COVID, you can apply for up to $9,000 in assistance for the funeral costs at fema.gov.
The application process began today, but there are a whole lot more questions surrounding this program than answers.
You will certainly need a death certificate that attributes the cause of death to COVID. You will likely have to show a funeral receipt as well.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the issue on First News today.
“You can apply online and you’re eligible to get up to $9,000 in reimbursement for any funeral costs you incurred for someone who died related to COVID,” Barkdoll said.
Jansen said, “That term, ‘related to COVID,’ is quite worrisome. There’s a whole mix of things that happened over this course of time where people may have died of something completely unrelated and we don’t even know if some doctors might have added COVID to the list.”
What if someone died in a car accident but he or she had COVID. Would that count?
Barkdoll has seen maybe 25 estates where COVID is listed as the number one cause of death. The second cause might have been stage four cancer.
So was the death really “related to COVID”?
“This has been a controversy,” Barkdoll said. “I don’t know how FEMA is going to treat that. The regulations and the rules on this were just published last week, even though this is stimulus money from last year’s package.”
There’s no question that in some of these cases, the cause of death was COVID and only COVID.
But for those who have a secondary cause of death, will FEMA take that into consideration for eligibility for the money?
Additionally, if the funeral expenses were paid by an insurance benefit, it may be that the insurance company would be first in line for the $9,000.
A whole lot of questions and “remains to be seen” answers with this one, but keep an eye on this to see if you could be eligible for some assistance.