FEMA to reimburse families for COVID-19 funeral expenses

FEMA hopes to alleviate the "overwhelming grief" many families experienced due to losing a loved one to COVID-19.
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FEMA
A Navy soldier next to FEMA van at US Naval Hospital Ship Comfort docked in New York City
(Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will help reimburse residents who have paid for the funeral of a family member who died of COVID-19 complications.

Only those who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020, will be eligible for reimbursement. The virus arrived the U.S. as early as late-December 2019 or early-January 2020. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families," FEMA says in an undated post on its website. "Our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus. 

The money is available only for virus-related deaths in the United States, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

Reimbursement applicant must be a U.S. citizen but the deceased does not have to be. The death certificate must attribute COVID-19 as the cause of death.

Expenses that are not eligible under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 include flowers and obituary costs. 

FEMA will start reimbursements in April, although it is unclear how many families will receive money. 

More than 500,000 people in the United States have so far died from the virus.