Financial assistance up to $9,000 could soon be coming from FEMA to those who had to pay for funeral expenses for loved ones who died as a result of COVID-19 dating back to Jan. 20, 2020.
The past 12 months have been a year of change for Rita Brock.
“It’s brought us together,” she said. “We keep up with each other even better.”
A year ago, Brock’s mother died and her grandson Liam was born, all within a 24-hour period in the beginning of the pandemic.
“It was a really tough couple weeks,” she said. “Trying to help her with the baby, and then trying to help her with the grieving.”
Some family members who couldn’t attend the funeral in person watched a live stream of the ceremony. Brock said the price tag was shocking.
“It costs more to die than it costs to live almost,” she said. “For those left living to have to deal with the grief.”
Brock said she knows her family is lucky – her parents took care of their own funeral arrangements.
“To have a $9,000, $10,000, $15,000 fee that you have to deal with, it just makes grief so much worse, having to figure out how to pay for that,” she said.
To be eligible for the FEMA assistance applicants must have incurred funeral expenses after Jan 20 of 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19. The assistance is capped at $9,000 per funeral and up to $35,500 per application. The death had to happen on US soil.
- An official death certificate that indicates “the death may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19.
- Expense documents.
- The funeral home contract.
“People can work through anything if they just have hope and believe things can get better,” Brock said.
FEMA is working on a toll-free number applicants can call to apply for the funeral assistance.