FEMA to reimburse funeral expenses to families who lost loved ones to COVID-19

“FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020 COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is going to reimburse families of COVID-19 victims for funeral expenses. COVID-19 must be listed as an underlying cause of death and FEMA says they will need receipts of funeral expenses. This news is relatively new, but after speaking with a woman who lost both her mom and dad because of the pandemic, she said this funding could help give her the closure she needs. ”My brother and I had contracted COVID while we were taking care of our mom and dad,” Karen Berthiaume said. “I went to the hospital on the 25th, my mom passed on the 28th.” Berthiaume is one out of the hundreds of thousands of families in the U.S. who can receive funding from FEMA starting in April after losing a loved one due to coronavirus. “I was not able to say goodbye, or give her a hug or anything like that,” she explained. “Then six days later, my dad passed away.” FEMA has $2 billion for funeral reimbursements. The funds will be given to individuals where COVID-19 is the underlying cause of death for a family member. Applicants will have to show that any funeral expense was made after January 20, 2020. “The assistance coming from FEMA I think will help families overcome somewhat of a shock of the death in the family that was not expected,” said Teddy Price, the director of Striffler-Hamby Mortuary in Columbus. With the average funeral costing upwards of $10,000 or more, those who oversee funeral homes in the Chattahoochee Valley say any amount would benefit someone who has lost so much.“A lot of families just need this assistance to get through a tough situation, and if you can get up to $7,000, that helps out greatly towards a funeral,” said Chris Conkle, vice president of McMullen Funeral Home in Columbus. The money for the funeral assistance funding comes from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, (CARES). FEMA plans to open up applications in April. In order to qualify for funeral reimbursement, you’ll need to show the death certificate of your loved one that shows COVID-19 is an underlying cause of death, and funeral expense documents. “I definitely think it would help us financially as well as with having some closure,” Berthiaume said. FEMA will not duplicate payment for expenses paid by third party sources like burial and funeral insurance and other payments from government or private sources. FEMA has more information on its website under “COVID-19 Funeral Assistance and plans to open a telephone hotline for information in April 2021.