In this past year the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided over $2.3 billion to over 350,000 people for funeral reimbursements of over 369,000 funerals. This equates to approximately $6,500 per reimbursement, and an eligibility rate of 97%. For the latest FEMA Update, click here.
In the midst of the reimbursement, there have also been some recent questions as to what has been approved. On April 13, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General released a report alerting FEMA that it had reimbursed families for some ineligible expenses that included flowers, catering and transportation. The report directs FEMA to take action to curb reimbursement of ineligible expenses because they are excluded under the agency’s Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide that governs how funeral aid for non-COVID disasters is disbursed. FEMA, however, has countered that in order to implement the program at the scale and speed of Congress’ intent, it needs to be “flexible and expedient.” The agency noted it has never processed so many applications in a condensed period and that to curb the expenses now would be unfair to future applicants. As of now, the issue is unresolved and ICCFA plans to weigh in.