Obtain a Death Certificate for FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance


Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

FEMA COVID Funeral Assistance

As of April 12, 2021, FEMA will accept applications by phone for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance for COVID-19 funeral expenses, up to $9,000.

This document serves to summarize the Department of Health Bureau of Vital Records (DOH BVR) role in aiding applicants in obtaining a certified death certificate needed to submit their application to FEMA.

How to Apply

The FEMA COVID Funeral Assistance information can be found here: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number

Applications begin on April 12, 2021


Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday - 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time

Types of information needed to apply 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, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

    DOH BVR is providing information online and by phone 855-322-1022 to help interested applicants obtain a certified death certificate that meets the criteria for FEMA funeral assistance reimbursement program.

    In the instance that in interested applicant does not have a death certificate that meets eligibility, DOH BVR provides options on how best to obtain an official death certificate that explicitly states the cause of death as COVID 19.

  • Funeral expenses 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 sourcesspecifically for use toward funeral costs.We are not able to duplicatebenefits received fromburial or funeral insurance, financialassistancereceived fromvoluntaryagencies, government agencies, or other sources.

Who is Eligible?

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

  • The death must have occurred in the United States, including the 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.

Obtain an Official Death Certificate with a Cause of Death

Note: New York City (the boroughs of Manhattan, Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Bronx, and Richmond (Staten Island)) Death Certificates can be obtained by contacting NYC Department of Health Vital Records as found here: NYC Death Certificates

NYS Applicants for the rest of the state can request a death certificate from the local Registrar of Vital Statistics where the death occurred OR can order a copy from the DOH BVR here: Death Certificates at any time.

When ordering a death certificate, NYS Applicants must:

  • Be a spouse, child, parent of the deceased or the lawful representative; or
  • Have a court order demanding a copy of the death certificate with the cause of death; or
  • Can provide documentation of a legal right or claim (e.g., proof of funeral expenses incurred as prescribed in the FEMA Funeral Assistance program).

Applicants must specifically request the Cause of Death (COD) section be included by indicating that the death certificate is needed for FEMA COVID-19 Assistance.

Correction to a Death Certificate

Any corrections to the medical portion of a death certificate must be initiated by the Medical Certifier who completed the death certificate, as they are required to provide the cause of death based on the circumstances of death. The Medical Certifier is named on the death certificate.

The requestor can contact the facility (hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility or hospice) where the death occurred, or the funeral home that filed the death certificate, to get assistance reaching the Medical Certifier.

Note: The New York State Department of Health does not have the authority to alter information on a death certificate without a request of the medical certifier, nor can the Department compel any medical certifier to correct a death certificate.