April 12 (UPI) -- Beginning Monday under a program announced last month, American families can now apply to have the federal government help pay for COVID-19-related funeral expenses.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has begun accepting applications for Americans to receive as much as $9,000 in assistance per funeral.
Under FEMA's aid program, a person may apply for aid for multiple funerals, with a maximum of $35,500 per application.
Eligible death certificates must indicate that the death was attributed to COVID-19. FEMA said costs will be reimbursed for funerals held between Jan. 20 and Dec. 31, 2020.
To be eligible for funeral assistance, FEMA says the death must have occurred in the United States or U.S. territories and the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen national or qualified alien. There is no requirement that the dead person was a U.S. citizen.
Those eligible for funeral assistance will be reimbursed by mail or direct deposit. Click here for eligibility requirements and how to apply.
"Our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters," Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton said in a statement last month. "The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate."
Under the aid program, applicants will not be reimbursed for costs that were paid by funeral insurance or other forms of aid.