COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families.
New Mexicans who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 could still receive help for their funeral expenses. According to the New Mexico Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than 1,000 applications in the state for its funeral assistance program and 700 more are being reviewed..
The state says that accounts for only 34 percent of those eligible. On average, families have received about $5,000. FEMA’s mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. FEMA is dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.
Through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.
Funeral Assistance Policy
On June 29, 2021, FEMA amended the funeral assistance policy to assist with COVID-19 related deaths that occurred in the early months of the pandemic.
This policy change will allow applicants to submit a signed statement from the certifying official on the death certificate or the local medical examiner, or coroner, that attributes the death to COVID-19 deaths that occurred between Jan. 20, 2020 and May 16, 2020.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
For deaths that occurred after May 16, 2020, the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- For deaths that occurred from Jan. 20 to May 16, 2020, any death certificate that does not attribute the cause of death to COVID-19 must be accompanied by a signed statement listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.
- The signed statement must be provided by the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred.
- The statement must provide an additional explanation, or causal pathway, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to COVID-19.
If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, you are encouraged to keep and gather documentation, including:
An official death certificate that shows the death occurred in the United States, including District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.
- If the death certificate was issued from Jan. 20, 2020 to May 16, 2020, it must either attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 or be accompanied by a signed statement from the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death. This signed statement must provide an additional explanation, or causal pathway, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to COVID-19.
- If the death certificate was issued May 17, 2020 or later, the death certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
If you are eligible for funeral assistance, you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you chose when you applied for assistance.
How to Apply
Call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline, at 844/684-6333 or 800/462-7585 to get a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application completed with help from FEMA representatives. Multilingual services are available.
Get answers to frequently asked questions about the application process on FEMA’s Funeral Assistance FAQ page.
Anyone who uses a relay service, such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel,is asked to please provide their specific number assigned to that service. It is important that FEMA is able to contact you, and you should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.
FEMA has also produced a video that provides program details and application instructions: at ASL #FEMA: Providing Financial Assistance for COVID-19 Related Funeral Expenses – YouTube.
For information, call toll-free 844/684-6333 or 800/462-7585 (TTY) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mountain Time Monday to Friday. Online information is available at: fema.gov/disaster/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.
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