COOK COUNTY, IL – Families who suffered COVID-19-related funeral expenses after January 20, 2020 will receive financial assistance. Assistance is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the state of Illinois, and Cook Counties.
The CDC estimates that more than 21,000 families in Illinois are eligible for federal funeral services reimbursement. To date, more than $ 10.4 million has been approved for the more than 1,500 admitted applicants in Illinois.
Cook County residents can apply for FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program by calling 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The application process takes around 20 minutes and multilingual services are available.
To be eligible for funeral allowance, residents must meet the following conditions:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, which includes US territories and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must show that the death was due to COVID-19.
- Applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen, or qualified alien who has paid funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- It is not required that the deceased was a U.S. citizen, not a citizen, or a documented individual.
When residents have had COVID-19 funeral expenses, they keep receipts and collect records. Please note that reimbursements are limited to a maximum of $ 9,000 per funeral.
Types of information should include:
- An official death certificate tracing death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and showing that death occurred in the United States, which includes U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia.
- Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral contract, etc.) that contain the applicant’s name, the name of the deceased, the amount of the funeral expenses and the date of the funeral expenses.
- Proof of funds from other sources specifically used for funeral expenses. We are unable to duplicate benefits from funeral or funeral insurance, financial assistance from volunteer organizations, government agencies, or any other source.
Eligibility under the FEMA program is limited to those who have death certificates showing that their family member’s death was, “possibly caused,” or “likely to have been caused” by Covid-19 or Covid-19-like symptoms The result was “. The Cook County Medical Examiner has documented over 10,800 deaths attributable to COVID-19 as of March 16, 2020. Death certificates issued by the medical examiner indicate COVID-19 as a cause or contributing factor
Those eligible for funeral allowance will receive a check in the mail or by wire transfer, depending on which option is chosen during the application process. FEMA’s Funeral Assistance Program has controls in place to contain fraudulent activity. FEMA will not contact any person and offer to register them for funeral assistance, nor will FEMA send text notifications soliciting registrations for the program. If you’re ever in doubt as to whether a FEMA representative is legitimate, hang up and report the FEMA helpline at 800-321-3362 or the National Center for Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721.
For more information on the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program, please visit the FEMA website.