COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program Available to Illinois Residents

FEMA providing assistance with funeral expenses of those who died as a result of COVID-19


SPRINGFIELD -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), State of Illinois and Cook County are reminding all Illinois residents that financial assistance is available to individuals who have incurred COVID-19 related funeral expenses. The assistance is being provided by FEMA for expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

According to the CDC, there are more than 21,000 families in Illinois that are eligible for federal funeral reimbursement funding.  To date, more than $10.4 million has been approved for the more than 1,500 approved applicants in Illinois.  

Residents can apply for FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program by calling 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  The application process takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and multilingual services are available.

To be eligible for funeral assistance, residents must meet these conditions:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States, which includes 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 January 20, 2020.
  • There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien.

If residents had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage them to keep and gather documentation.  Please note, reimbursement is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral.

Types of information should include:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, which includes U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
  • Funeral expense 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. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

Residents who are eligible for funeral assistance will receive a check by mail or by direct deposit, depending on which option is chosen during the application process.  FEMA’s Funeral Assistance Program has controls in place to mitigate fraudulent activity. FEMA will not contact an individual and offer to register them for funeral assistance, nor will FEMA send text notifications to solicit registrations into the program.  If you ever doubt a FEMA representative is legitimate, hang up and report it to the FEMA Helpline at 800-321-3362 or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. 

For more information about the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program, please visit FEMA’s website.