WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - If you lost a loved one due to COVID-19, financial help could be on the way. FEMA announced that it will be reimbursing people to help pay for funeral expenses.
To date, COVID-19 has claimed more than half a million lives in the United States, leaving people with unexpected funeral costs.
On Wednesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, said it would help people all across America cover those costs.
“I think it’s been a very difficult time for families. Any time somebody can get some financial refund, it will certainly help hopefully their family during this time,” said Jill Bruce Wiley, owner, Hart & Bruce Funeral Home.
The financial assistance includes up to $9,000 per funeral, and a maximum of $35,500 for families who have lost more than a single loved one.
Only people who paid funeral expenses after January 20 of last year are eligible. And COVID-19 doesn’t have to be the main cause of death.
“Somebody could pass for other reasons, but if it says ‘due to’ or ‘attributed to’ underneath the original cause, then they’re eligible,” said Wiley.
An 800 number will become available in the coming weeks to help people apply. In the meantime, people should get their paperwork ready.
“Making sure you have a certified death certificate that does state COVID, getting either a statement or itemization from your funeral home. And gathering all those other payments that may have helped you with the funeral previously,” said Francee Calarco, co-owner, D.L. Calarco Funeral Home.
Once the 800 number does become available, the application process will likely begin in early May.