EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is now accepting applications to help cover COVID-19 related funeral costs, but the process could have its challenges.
“Many people do not expect a death due to COVID so they weren’t prepared financially,” said Johnny Garcia, Funeral Director at Ceballos-Diaz Funeral Home who helped many families deal with that loss.
With the U.S reaching over 564,000 deaths from COVID-19, FEMA is offering to cover up to $9,000 per burial. Proper documentation will be needed to qualify for the reimbursement.
“They would need a statement from the funeral home letting them know what the total cost of the funeral services was, and they need to hold on to any receipts that have to do with any expenses that they incurred,” said Garcia.
The death must have also happened within the U.S or its territories, the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19, and funeral expenses must have been incurred after January 20, 2020.
While this is all needed to get assistance, some families could face some challenges.
“A lot of people didn’t know that this assistance was going to be brought forward, so a lot of people actually threw away their receipts or don’t have any receipts to show,” said Garcia.
Garcia adds that if you find yourself in that position, funeral homes are willing to help with the process and get any documentation needed for the program.
“They can still make an effort to apply with FEMA and any receipts that we can reproduce for them we can do that,” said Garcia.
FEMA said on Wednesday they had received thousands of calls on the first day causing some “technical issues” but are now back up and running. They ask residents applying for the program to be patient.
The number for FEMA’s hotline is 844-684-6333.