AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - In addition to losing a loved one, many families have had to bear the financial burden of funeral and burial expenses during the pandemic.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA hopes to help ease some of that stress by providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses.
Beginning in April, the agency says it will begin paying up to $9,000 in expenses per funerals.
While those who lost multiple family members can apply for up to $35,000.
“They’re out of work, a lot of people were laid off or furloughed and so it’s a great opportunity to assist families whom were struggling,” said Morris Overstreet, president of Warford-Walker Mortuary Inc.
To be eligible, you must meet the following conditions.
The death must have occurred in the United Stated, including the U. S territories and the district of Columbia.
The applicant(s) must be a U.S citizen, legal resident, asylees, refugee or non-citizen national.
“You must have a copy of the death certificate, whoever is applying and on the death certificate, it needs to say the death may have been caused or was likely a result of COVID-19,” said Overstreet.
Applicants must also provide proof of funeral expenses.
Eligible expenses include burial or cremation, as well as costs associated with headstones, clergy services, transfer of remains and other additional expenses.
“There are some exceptions, if you received assistance through another governmental agency or volunteer agency then you’re not entitled to apply through FEMA,” said Overstreet.
If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should register under a single application as applicant and co-applicant.
The program will be implemented in April and some local funeral homes have started to inform those who may be eligible about the assistance.
If you are eligible for assistance you will receive a check or a direct deposit.
The agency is currently working to set up a dedicates toll-free phone number that can be used to apply.