ATLANTA – State Representatives Penny Houston (R-Nashville), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Economic Development, and Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert), chair of the House State Properties Committee, today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide financial resources for families who incurred funeral expenses for a loved one who has died as a result of COVID-19 last year.
“South Georgia has experienced first-hand the devastation and loss of life under the grips of this pandemic,” said Chairman Houston. “Already faced with incredible loss, Georgia families must also deal with the financial burden from burying their loved ones, and this federal assistance will surely be a blessing for South Georgia families during this difficult time.”
The federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 provided FEMA with $2 billion to reimburse individuals and households for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred between January 20 and December 31, 2020. According to the FEMA website, the agency is currently working with stakeholder groups to provide this assistance and enlist their help with outreach to families and communities. The agency plans to launch this program in April 2021.
“It is no doubt that funeral expenses can be overwhelming for families already struggling financially during this pandemic,” said Chairman Greene. “This program could alleviate these unexpected costs, and I encourage families who’ve lost their loved ones to this terrible disease to consider applying for the program once it has launched this spring.”
Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. FEMA is also working to establish a toll-free phone number for families seeking to apply for such assistance. In the meantime, Reps. Houston and Greene encourage people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses to keep and gather documentation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, 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.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
We are working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways we can best provide this assistance, and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities. FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April.
Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
How to Apply
In April, FEMA will begin accepting applications. If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
- Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.
How are Funds Received
If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.
Representative Penny Houston represents the citizens of District 170, which includes all of Berrien and Cook counties and portions of Tift County. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1997 and currently serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Economic Development. She also serves on the Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care and the Banks & Banking, Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight, Economic Development & Tourism and Ways & Means committees.
Representative Gerald Greene represents the citizens of District 151, which includes Calhoun, Clay, Early, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, Terrell and Webster counties, as well as portions of Dougherty County. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982 and currently serves as Chairman of the State Properties Committee. He also serves on the Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety, as well as the Economic Development & Tourism, Public Safety and Homeland Security, Retirement, Special Rules and Rules committees.