FEMA launches funeral assistance program, reimbursing families up to $9,000 for COVID-19 deaths

Coronavirus

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Help is on the way for millions of families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 starting Monday. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is launching a massive funeral assistance program. 

Families can get reimbursed up to $9,000 per funeral of a COVID-19 caused death. Households that lost more than one family member to COVID-19 can receive up to $35,000. 

Goldfinch Funeral Home Licensed Director, Todd Jones, says that funeral finances can put a burden on families on top of an already emotional process.

“It can be very expensive, especially folks who die younger who have not made arrangements for cemetery property or anything regarding the funeral,” Jones said. 

The FEMA reimbursement will go to those who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. 

The applicant responsible for COVID-19 funeral expenses will have to provide paperwork on funeral costs and cause of death. They will also need to be prepared with a list of information when they call FEMA to register. 

What information do you need to provide when registering?

  • SSN and DOB for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Current mailing address and phone number for the applicant
  • Location or address where the COVID-19 victim passed away
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
  • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations
  • CARES Act grants and help from voluntary organizations
  • Applicant’s bank account information

Funeral expenses can add up quickly. 

According to Jones, an average cemetery plot can cost upwards of $2,000 or more just for the property itself, then comes the cost of caskets, marker, or headstone. 

“You could be looking easily at anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 in cemetery and funeral home expenses,” Jones said. 

Jones says FEMA funds will likely cover about 75% of what a family had to pay. 

“So, being able to replenish that money, especially if hours are cut, or someone in the home has lost a job, it’s invaluable,” Jones said. 

Starting at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning, people can call a toll-free number 844-684-6333 to complete an application with a FEMA representative. 

Assistance is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you are eligible for financial help, you will receive a check by mail or direct deposit, depending on which you choose when you apply. 

Click here to see the full list of funeral expenses covered under the FEMA funeral assistance program.

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