U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) announced today that, as a result of the American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed last month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing new resources for Rhode Islanders who have incurred a COVID-19-related funeral expense since January 20, 2020. Eligible Rhode Islanders may apply for a maximum reimbursement of up to $9,000 per funeral.

“Thousands of Rhode Island families have lost a loved one due to COVID-19,” said Cicilline. “For many, this overwhelming sense of grief and loss has been made worse because of the financial stress and burden they’ve taken on in order to lay their loved one to rest. That’s why we fought to ensure that the American Rescue Plan included resources for the families who have sacrificed the most during this pandemic. I’m pleased that FEMA is now accepting applications for funeral assistance, and I look forward to making sure these resources are delivered to the Rhode Islanders who need them now.”

To be eligible for funeral assistance, Rhode Islanders must meet the following 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 or caused by COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.

Examples of expenses eligible for reimbursement include, but are not limited to:

  • Transportation for up to two people to identify the deceased.
  • Transfer of remains, a casket, or urn.
  • A burial plot or cremation niche.
  • A marker or headstone.
  • Clergy or officiant services.
  • Arrangement of a funeral ceremony.
  • Use of funeral home equipment or staff.
  • Cremation or internment costs.
  • Costs associated with producing multiple death certificates.

This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.


Rhode Islanders interested in applying for assistance can call FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 1-844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday – Friday and begin the application process.

Rhode Islanders can also call Cicilline’s office at 401-729-5600 if they require assistance with their application.

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