May 15, 2021

Federal funds available for COVID-19 funerals

Among the funding the federal government approved in COVID-19 stimulus relief bills, funds are also available for families who have a death because of COVID.

As of last week, Union County has had 32 COVID-19 related deaths.

“We have notified families who have been dealing with that and informed them,” said Brian Cramer of Powers Funeral Home. “We told them the kind of information they need and when they should call. We do as much as we can.”

Operated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to be eligible for funeral assistance certain conditions must be met.

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 Jan. 20, 2020. There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

Those who have had COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation. Information should include: 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. FEMA is not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

Those eligible for funeral assistance will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option chosen when applying for assistance.

“A lot of families are still in the process,” Cramer said about how families are applying. He said it is common for families to have paid for the funeral services and had the federal funding act as a reimbursement.

Cramer did not know how long the funds will be available.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number


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An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.