The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.
Santa Cruz County reports 207 people died because of COVID-19. All of those deaths were after Jan. 20, 2020.
How to Apply
You can reach the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) Monday thru Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application completed with help from FEMA’s representatives. Multilingual services will be available.
Get answers to frequently asked questions about the application process on our Funeral Assistance FAQ page: https://tinyurl.com/covid-funeral-help
If you use a relay service, such as your videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, please provide your specific number assigned to that service. It is important that FEMA is able to contact you, and you should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.
Funeral Assistance Policy
On June 29, 2021, FEMA amended the funeral assistance policy to assist with COVID-19 related fatalities that occurred in the early months of the pandemic.
This policy change will allow applicants to submit a statement or letter from the death certificate’s certifying official, medical examiner, or coroner, that attributes the death to COVID-19 fatalities that occurred between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020.
Read the amended policy at https://tinyurl.com/feta-funeral-assist-new
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
- For deaths that occurred after May 16, 2020, the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- For deaths that occurred from Jan. 20 to May 16, 2020, any death certificate that does not attribute the cause of death to COVID-19 must be accompanied by a signed statement listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.
- The signed statement must be provided by the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred.
- The statement must provide an additional explanation, or causal pathway, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate with COVID-19.
If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:
- Official death certificate that shows the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories.
- If the death certificate is from Jan. 20 to May 16, 2020 it must either attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 or be accompanied by a signed statement provided by the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death. This statement must provide an additional explanation, or causal pathway, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate with COVID-19.
- If the death certificate from May 16, 2020 or later the death certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19.