By Leader Editor Kara Apel
FEMA has released new guidance for families seeking funeral assistance for loved ones who died from COVID-19.
Earlier this week, the government agency announced a policy change that does not require applicants to amend a death certificate to confirm the death was related to the virus. This only applies to deaths that occurred between Jan. 20 and May 16 of 2020.
“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,” said FEMA in a news release earlier this week. “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.”
FEMA is still requiring death certificates to list COVID-19 for deaths that occurred after May 16, 2020.
The agency said it decided to make the change after consulting with CDC officials and other health experts.
Since the program launched earlier this year, FEMA has awarded over $447 million in assistance to over 66,800 applicants.
Here’s some additional information about the hotline:
- The toll-free hotline can be reached at 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET from Monday through Friday.
- Those who rely upon a relay service (i.e., InnoCaption or CapTel) must provide the specific number assigned to them. Phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.
- Click here for more information about the program, along with FAQs.