FEMA changes rules for Covid-19 funeral aid program after outcry

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has changed its pandemic funeral assistance policy to allow family members of those who died from Covid-19 to submit for reimbursement even if the death certificate does not identify the illness as the cause of death.

FEMA said Tuesday that people whose family member died between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020, can apply for aid if they submit a signed letter from a coroner, medical examiner or official who certified their relative’s death certificate that links the death to Covid-19.

The change could allow thousands of people whose relatives died early in the pandemic, before reliable testing was commonplace, to access the funeral aid program — the largest FEMA has ever run. The agency had struggled to find a balance between helping people in need and warding off potential scammers.