The following resources may also help connect AI/AN families with financial assistance after a death:
- FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Funds: Families may be eligible for funds when an AI/AN person died due to COVID-19. According to FEMA, “under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for any COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.”
- Funds for AI/AN Veteran’s: According to the Veteran’s Administration (VA), spouses and families of American Indian/Alaska Native veterans may be eligible for a variety of burial benefits. These can include opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Certificate—at no cost to the family. For more information, please see the following factsheet and Planning Your Legacy: VA Survivors and Burial Benefits Kit. The VA can be contacted online or at the following phone numbers:
- For burial, survivors’ pension, or other benefits: 1-877-294-6380
- For the status of VA headstones and markers: 1-800-697-6947
- For bereavement counseling: 1-202-461-6530
- Direct Assistance via Financial Assistance & Social Services (FASS) is provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). FASS consists of direct funding for a variety of social services and emergencies, and includes a burial assistance program which “provides funds to assist with the burial expenses of deceased indigent Indians whose estates do not have sufficient resources to meet funeral expenses.”
- For Tribal Members from Central California, the BIA Burial Assistance Program application is clearly listed online. “The BIA Burial Assistance Program is a one-time payment of up to $2,500 towards burial/funeral expenses. Payments are made, on behalf of the deceased, directly to the mortuary. The BIA cannot reimburse family members for funeral expenses. The deceased must be a member of a federally recognized tribe. Immediate family members may fill out a Burial Assistance application and submit the required documents for the deceased.”
- For funeral homes in Oklahoma, the Southern Plains Indian Health Board (SPIHB) has created a thorough Tribal Burial Resource Guide. This resource guide lists the names, numbers, website links, and other relevant contact information for tribes offering assistance, and provides a detailed description of each assistance program. These booklets are available for printing and reference via SPIHB.
This website was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award (NOFO OT18-1802, titled Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health) funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.