It is incredibly sad to say that most of us have something in common: we have lost a loved one to COVID-19. As if losing someone is not difficult enough, the funeral expenses can be devastating for families. There is financial help coming soon courtesy of FEMA. The details were finalized last week and the agency intends to give financial assistance as soon as possible to families dealing with the financial burden caused by the pandemic.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency [“FEMA”] will provide financial assistance to families who lost a loved one to COVID-19. Beginning in early April, financial assistance of up to $9,000 per funeral or $35,000 per application will be available to qualified applicants.
There are some requirements; for instance, the applicant(s) must be a U.S. citizen or qualified citizen who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020, and the death must have occurred in the U.S. although they do not have to be a U.S. citizen. There is the ability to file for multiple funerals and the funeral services include interment, cremation, casket, transportation, and more.
In a news release, Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton said, “At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate.”
A dedicated 800 number will be set up for individuals to contact for assistance. In the meantime, the agency asks potential applicants to gather documentation that will be required, including the official death certificate showing the death was COVID-19 related, plus funeral expenses documentation.