For the first time in over 100 years, the State of Alabama had more deaths than births for the calendar year 2020. The unofficial numbers are 57,641 births and 64,714 deaths, of which 7,182 deaths were attributed to COVID. In total, nearly 14,000 Alabamians have died by COVID. COVID deaths have devastated many families in Alabama, America, and across the globe. Virtually everyone has been touched in some way. The death of a family member or friend; you or someone you know having been severely ill from the virus. I know of one family whose mother-in-law, father-in-law, and husband died within three months from the virus.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, you may be eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $9,000 in funeral expenses. Under the program, you can be reimbursed for funeral expenses for multiple people up to $35,500. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is taking applications for funeral expense reimbursements, and according to FEMA’s state by state breakdown, as of September 27, 2021, FEMA has received over 6,800 applications from Alabama residents, awarding over $26 million in reimbursement aid. Although the assistance can’t replace your loss, it may be able to lessen the financial burden. Here are the basics you should know:
- Death must have occurred after January 20, 2020.
- You’ll need a death certificate showing COVID-19 as the cause of death (or likely the result).
- You’ll need proof of funeral expenses (expense receipts).
- U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, and qualified aliens are eligible.
- Request your application by phone (800 684-6333) or text (800 462-7585).
- There are no income qualification requirements.
Submit your application and documentation in 3 ways:
The COVID-19 pandemic reminds me of a poorly written Hollywood script…not believable, except that it is real. The chaos, pain, and suffering have created both emotional and financial costs for many families. Unfortunately, little can resolve the emotional burden, but this FEMA program may help with some of the financial costs.
For more information: FEMA: Funeral Assistance FAQs
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Stewart H. Welch, III, CFP®, AEP, is the founder of THE WELCH GROUP, LLC, which specializes in providing fee-only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. He is the author or co-author of six books, including 50 Rules of Success; J.K. Lasser’s New Rules for Estate, Retirement and Tax Planning- 6th Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.); THINK Like a Self-Made Millionaire; and 100 Tips for Creating a Champagne Retirement on a Shoestring Budget. For more information, visit The Welch Group. Consult your financial advisor before acting on comments in this article.
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