What to Know About Funeral Costs Related to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic caused devastation throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, leaving many families to bear this burden while facing economic difficulties as well. In an effort to relieve the financial strain on these families, FEMA is offering funeral cost assistance, starting in April, for those who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. To help you determine if you or someone you know may be eligible for this assistance, we’ve laid out this program’s basic details. 

Note: Please note that FEMA has warned of scammers trying to take advantage of this situation by pretending to be affiliated with the organization. FEMA will not contact you without you first applying for assistance. If you receive unsolicited information about this program, please do not respond to the email. Instead, contact FEMA directly.

Who Qualifies for Funeral Assistance? 

The qualifications to receive funeral assistance are relatively basic. The person applying must have incurred the expense after January 20, 2020, and be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien. It is also required that the death certificate state that COVID-19 was an attributing factor and that the death occurred in the U.S. or a U.S. territory.

How Can You Apply? 

Applications will begin in April for FEMA’s funeral cost assistance program. To stay up-to-date and to apply, please visit the FEMA website. You will be asked to provide detailed documentation, such as the death certificate, funeral expense documentation, and proof of any funds you have received from other sources (e.g., burial insurance, government assistance, etc.). 

What Should You Keep in Mind? 

  • Do not respond to any emails about this program that are not coming directly from FEMA. If you have not reached out for this assistance, FEMA will not contact you. Any unsolicited emails could be a scam.
  • Be sure to collect all documentation necessary prior to the application process. Keep any documents or expense receipts that could provide information about the nature of the death, where it took place, and the expenses you’ve incurred. 
  • You can find answers to the most commonly asked questions on FEMA’s FAQ page.

Did COVID-19 Change Your Financial Plans? 

To discuss how your finances have changed since the pandemic and what you can do to readjust, reach out to a Southwestern Investment Group advisor near you. We work to build a sensible strategy and provide ongoing guidance that helps you and your family attain your financial goals. Contact us today to learn more about comprehensive financial planning and how it can benefit you.

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.