FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program
Recently, we received information regarding a FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program that will be available to families who have experienced a death related to Covid. I am writing you to pass along this information in hopes that you can apply and benefit from this program. I have outlined the information below, as well as the website where you can find more information if you have more questions.
Who is eligible? The applicant must be a US citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. The death must have occurred in the United States, including the US Territories or the District of Columbia. The death certificate must indicate that the death was attributed to COVID-19.
How do I apply? Beginning April 12, 2021, you may call 844-684-6333 (TTY 800-462-7585) to begin the application process. Please have the following documents available: Official certified death certificate; funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, deceased’s name, amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses were incurred; and proof of funds received from any other sources (funds received from pre-paid burial insurance, government agencies, or other sources are not able to be reimbursed).
Once you have begun the application process by phone, you can then upload the supporting documents at disasterassistance.gov or by fax or mail.
What expenses are covered?
- 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 any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances
Applicants may receive assistance for the funeral expenses of multiple deceased individuals. Assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application per state, territory, or the District of Columbia.
How do I receive the funds? If you are approved to be reimbursed, you can choose to receive a check by mail or by direct deposit.
As a recap, please begin the process by calling the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line:
1-844-684-6333 (TTY 800-462-7585)
They will gather information from you to begin the process, issue an application number, and then direct you on how to submit the supporting documents.
If you no longer have the necessary documents, we may be able to assist you. If the death has been within the last 6 months, we can re-order a certified death certificate on your behalf. If it was longer ago than 6 months, you will need to contact any county recorder’s office in the state where the death occurred. We have funeral statements on file and can send a new copy to you if needed.
To find all of the above information and more, please visit: https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance
I sincerely hope you are feeling peace and comfort during these trying times. As always, we are here to help and answer questions. Please do not hesitate to call us at any time.
Executive Order 21-11
- Friday, March 12, Governor Walz announced Executive Order 21-11,effective Monday, March 15, 2021 at 12:00pm. EO 21-11 rescinds the previous capacity restrictions (50%) and beginning Monday, funeral services, ceremonies, and visitations may be conducted at 100% capacity. As with current requirements, funeral homes must develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in accordance with applicable guidance available on the Stay Safe Guidance for Places of Worship website – masking and social distancing are still required.
- Receptions must not exceed 50% of normal occupancy, with a 250 person maximum, and food and beverage is prohibited between the hours of 11:00pm and 4:00am. We’re gathering information on the next phase of easing the restrictions (beginning April 1st) with regards to receptions, and will share guidance when it becomes available.
- Additional information on EO 21-11 can be found on the Stay Safe Minnesota website.
COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for Stephens Funeral Service
Stephens Funeral Service is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our workers and customers. To ensure we have as safe and healthy workplace, we have developed the following COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Managers and workers are all responsible for implementing this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our workplaces and communities, and that requires full cooperation among our workers, management and customers. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of all persons in our workplaces.
Management and workers are responsible for implementing and complying with all aspects of this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Stephens Funeral Service managers and supervisors have our full support in enforcing the provisions of this policy and we encourage our workers to ask questions, raise safety and health concerns and offer suggestions related to the plan and its implementation.
Our workers are our most important assets. We are serious about safety and health and keeping our workers working at Stephens Funeral Service. Worker involvement is essential in developing and implementing a successful COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. We have involved our workers in this process by addressing our workers concerns, taking in their suggestions and feedback and integrating them into developing the plan. Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan follows State of Minnesota Industry Guidance for our business, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines, federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards related to safety and health precautions required in response to COVID-19 and applicable executive orders. The plan addresses the following:
- policies and procedures that assist in the identification of sick workers and ensure sick workers stay home;
- implementation of engineering and administrative controls for social distancing;
- worker hygiene and source controls;
- workplace building and ventilation protocols;
- workplace cleaning and disinfecting protocols;
- drop-off, pick-up and delivery practices and protocols; and
- communications, training and supervision practices and protocols.
- what customers and clients can do to minimize transmission;
- additional protections and protocols for receiving and exchanging payment;
- additional protections and protocols for managing occupancy;
- additional protections and protocols to limit face-to-face interactions; and
- additional protection and protocols for distancing and barriers.
Stephens Funeral Service Is Prepared to Safely Care For Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Stephens Funeral Service remains committed and prepared to safely care for the families it serves during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Whenever possible, Stephens Funeral Service will continue to enable families to participate in the rituals that are most important to them.
And according to the CDC, at this time, there is no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19; however, federal, state and local public health guidance may impact the size of gathering a family is able to plan. Depending on a family’s preferences, their loved one can be safely embalmed. Families may chose either burial or cremation as usual.
“At Stephens Funeral Service, we recognize our responsibility to protect the health of those we are privileged to serve,” said Nathan Stephens, Owner. “We will continue to guide families, as we always have, in ways they can meaningfully commemorate the life of their loved one, while adhering to the guidance issued by federal, state and local public health officials.”
Stephens continued: “Our staff remains vigilant about cleaning our facilities and ensuring we’re all following recommended healthy habits, such as staying home when sick, washing our hands, and covering coughs and sneezes. The CDC and our state and local public health officials have offered a lot of helpful guidance for businesses on this topic, which we continue to follow.”
We will continue to work with each and every family on an individual basis to find the best way for them to celebrate the life of their loved one and create a meaningful ceremony that will aid in the grief process, while adhering to the requirements of the Department of Health guidelines and protecting public safety.
As a member of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), Stephens Funeral Service regularly receives information via NFDA from the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies about the evolution of COVID-19 in the United States. NFDA continues to lead the conversation with federal officials about the role of funeral service as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the staff of Stephens Funeral Service can be of assistance, please contact us at (888)229-6200 or stephensfuneralservice.com
Please find a list of resources for grief support below.
Funeral Options During the Pandemic https://www.rememberingalife.com/covid-19/funeral-options-during-the-pandemic
Attending a Funeral https://www.rememberingalife.com/covid-19/attending-a-funeral
If You Aren’t Able to Have a Funeral for a Loved One https://www.rememberingalife.com/covid-19/if-you-arent-able-to-have-a-funeral-for-a-loved-one
Supporting Friends & Family When a Funeral Isn’t Possible https://www.rememberingalife.com/covid-19/supporting-friends-and-family-when-a-funeral-isnt-possible
When a Loved One Dies of COVID-19 Overseas https://www.rememberingalife.com/covid-19/when-a-loved-one-dies-of-covid-19-overseas
Grieving Alone & Together