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COVID-19 funeral expenses: Here's how you can qualify for federal aid

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Family and friends attend the burial of Conrad Coleman Jr. on July 3 in Rye, New York. Coleman, 39, died of the coronavirus on June 20, just over two months after his father, Conrad Coleman Sr., also died of the disease. The funeral service was held in the younger Coleman’s nearby hometown of New Rochelle, New York, an early epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the eastern United States.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is still taking applications for its COVID-19 funeral assistance program.

Individuals can receive up to $9,000 per deceased individual and a maximum of $35,000 per application in the event of multiple deaths.

The program, which began last spring, has awarded $1.6 billion in funding to families. 

Nationwide, more than 259,000 applicants have received COVID-19 funeral assistance. That includes 390 applicants in York County who have been approved for the program, according to a FEMA spokesperson.

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Across Pennsylvania, 16,352 applications have been submitted, with 11,083 of those approved. That sent $72,739,330 in relief dollars to families in the commonwealth, according to data provided by FEMA.

In order to receive assistance, individuals must have proof with an official death certificate showing that the death occurred in the United States. In addition to the states, that includes all U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. 

In the event the death certificate was issued between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020, it must show one of two things: 

  • Attribution directly or indirectly to COVID-19
  • Include a signed statement from the original certifier of the death certificate listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death

If the death certificate occurred on or after May 17, 2020, the certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19, according to FEMA.

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Here's how to apply:

Interested individuals can call 844-684-6333 to speak with a representative. Multilingual services can be available upon request, according to FEMA's website. 

The funeral assistance hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every Monday through Friday. Online applications will not be accepted. 

Upon application, individuals will then need to submit required documentation to FEMA. That can be done by uploading documents straight to DisasterAssistance.gov, faxing them to 855-261-3452 or mailing them to P.O. Box 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.