Congresswoman Nikema Williams Announces Amended Funeral Assistance for Georgians Who Lost Loved Ones to COVID-19

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ATLANTA – Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) announced that FEMA has amended the agency’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance policy to assist Georgians who lost loved ones to COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic. Congresswoman Williams helped pass the funeral assistance program as part of the American Rescue Plan. 

This policy change will allow applicants to submit a statement or letter from the death certificate’s certifying official, medical examiner, or coroner, that attributes the death to COVID-19 fatalities that occurred between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020.

“While no amount of money can heal the loss of a loved one, this grant program can help ease the financial strain on Georgians who’ve suffered so much from COVID-19,” said Congresswoman Williams

The new policy provides applicants, as well as medical authorities, coroners and jurisdictions, flexibility to attribute a death to COVID-19 without amending the death certificate. The change also provides flexibility with documentation for the period before the CDC-published and implemented COVID-19 death certificate guidance in the spring of 2020

Since FEMA began taking COVID-19 funeral assistance applications, the agency has awarded more than $447 million in assistance to 66,800 applicants. 

Applicants who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020, will be able to submit a death certificate that does not attribute the death to COVID-19 along with a signed statement from the certifying official listed on the death certificate, coroner, or medical examiner linking the death to COVID-19. The written statement must show causal pathway, or an explanation, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to the virus and should be submitted with the death certificate. 

Applicants also retain the option of contacting the individual who certified the death to request a death certificate amendment if they can provide justification demonstrating the death should be attributed to COVID-19. The certifying individual’s name and address should be on the death certificate.

For deaths occurring after May 16, 2020, COVID-19 funeral assistance documentation must include a copy of a death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19. 

Georgians who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020, for an individual whose death may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19 can apply for up to $9,000 of assistance per funeral through FEMA’s dedicated COVID-19 helpline tollfree, at 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday – Friday. Applicants who use a relay service, such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel should provide FEMA with the specific number assigned to them for that service, so agency representatives are able to contact them. No online applications will be accepted. 

Additional information about COVID-19 funeral assistance, including frequently asked questions can be found on FEMA.gov. This information is available online in 12 different languages and through FEMA-provided language services. 

Who Can Apply for Assistance?

  • You may qualify if: You are a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020, and the funeral expenses were for an individual whose death in the United States, territories or the District of Columbia, may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19.
  • Individuals may apply for assistance for multiple funerals. 

How do Georgians Apply?

  • FEMA’s dedicated call center at 844-684-6333; TTY 800-462-7585, Monday-Friday, 9 AM ET – 9 PM ET. No online applications will be accepted. Multilingual services will be available.

What Information do Georgians Need to Provide?

The applicant responsible for COVID-19 funeral expenses will need to provide the following information below when they call FEMA to register for assistance. FEMA recommends gathering this information ahead of the application process.

  • Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Current mailing address for the applicant
  • Current telephone number for the applicant
  • Location or address where the deceased individual passed away
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
  • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations
  • CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations
  • Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)
  • Statement or letter from the death certificate’s certifying official, medical examiner, or coroner, that attributes the death to COVID-19 fatalities that occurred between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020.
  • Georgians can learn more from FEMA HERE.

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov

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