Trusts and Estates Legal Update
SPOTLIGHT ATTORNEY
TRUSTS AND ESTATES TEAM
On Air with Mirick O'Connell is a podcast featuring host Howard Caplan and the attorneys from Mirick O’Connell. Episodes provide legal perspective about local, national and international topics, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorneys discuss how the law affects you, your business and your family.
COVID-19 Funeral Reimbursement Program
Has a loved one passed away due to COVID-19 complications? If so, you may be eligible for a government reimbursement for funeral expenses to assist with funeral services, interment, and cremation. 
 
The assistance is limited to a maximum reimbursement amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application. As of this date, there is no deadline to apply, and a funding cap has not been established.

Covered funeral expenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual
  • Transfer of remains
  • Casket or urn
  • Burial plot or cremation niche
  • Marker or headstone
  • Clergy or officiant services
  • Arrangement of the funeral ceremony
  • Use of funeral home equipment or staff
  • Cremation or interment costs
  • Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates
  • Additional expenses mandated by applicable local or state government laws or ordinances
 
To be eligible for the reimbursement, the death certificate must indicate that the death occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, and that the death was attributed “directly or indirectly” to COVID-19. 
 
Who can apply?

One applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals. If multiple people contributed toward the funeral expenses, all should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. The applicant cannot be a funeral home or business. There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

The application for funeral reimbursement requires the following documentation:

  • Personal information needed about the applicant

  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth
  • Current mailing address and phone number
  • Routing and account number of checking/savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)

  • Personal information needed about the decedent:

  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth
  • Location and address where death took place

  • Certified death certificate showing that:

  • COVID-19 “directly or indirectly” contributed to the death
  • The decedent died within the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia

  • Documentation of funeral expenses:

  • Must include applicant’s name, deceased person’s name, amount of funeral expenses, and dates funeral expenses were charged 

  • Proof of funds received from other sources:

  • If the decedent received any funeral or burial benefits from burial/funeral insurance, voluntary agencies, or government agencies, FEMA will only reimburse the excess expenses. This includes benefits from pre-paid funeral or burial contracts.
 
How to Apply:

Applicants can call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line at 844-684-6333 between 9:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M. The application includes an option to receive funds by mail or by direct deposit. No online applications will be accepted. FEMA requests that applicants gather all necessary documentation before calling the phone number provided. The phone call should take approximately twenty minutes.

Once the applicant calls FEMA and receives an application number, he/she/they can upload the supporting documentation to DisasterAssistance.gov, fax the documents to 855-261-3452, or mail the documents to P.O. BOX 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782. If applicants mail documents, it is advised that they receive a tracking number.

If FEMA denies the application, the applicant has 60 days from the date of the letter to upload, fax, or mail a signed letter appealing the decision. The appeal should include the application number and a reason why the applicant believes the application should have been approved (including supporting documentation). For more information, please visit the FEMA informational website, https://www.fema.gov/press-release/20210324/fema-help-pay-funeral-costs-covid-19-related-deaths.
This client alert is intended to inform you of developments in the law and to provide information of general interest. It is not intended to constitute legal advice regarding a client's specific legal issues and should not be relied upon as such. This client alert may be considered advertising under the rules of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. This client alert is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a solicitation or offer to provide products or service to any individual or entity, including to a "data subject" as that term is defined by the European Union General Data Protection Regulations. ©2021 Mirick, O'Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP. All Rights Reserved.