ON YOUR SIDE: FEMA will reimburse COVID-19 funeral expenses
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - 422 people have died from COVID-19 in Greene county. Federal money is available to help their families with funeral expenses. Starting next month, FEMA will begin reimbursing families for the cost of funerals for victims of COVID-19 since January of 2020.
To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states:
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020, for a death attributed to COVID-19.
- If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual.
- An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
- The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
- This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.
- Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.
FEMA will reimburse expenses up to $9,000 for an individual funeral.
”They’re going to need a death certificate that somewhere on it says COVID-19. They’re going to need invoices bills receipts that shows what they either have spent on the funeral or cremation or other final disposition.” said Executive Director of the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association Don Otto.
There are some exceptions to who qualifies.
”If they had a prepaid funeral plan rather it was already money set aside in a trust or there was an insurance policy that named the funeral home as the beneficiary. If there was a GoFundMe account or a charitable organization or another branch of government they won’t get reimbursed for that.” said Otto.
However, Otto said if your loved one had a health insurance policy that named a family member as the beneficiary, you will still qualify for assistance. He also said if you believe that your loved one died of COVID-19 but is not listed on the death certificate, you can ask the patient’s doctor to amend it.
“There are many instances where that’s done it’s not a complicated process at all to get the death certificate amended,” said Otto.
Funeral homes say they are willing to help families through the application process.
“Our funeral home will assist families by providing a letter with the 800-number, how to apply for COVID-19 reimbursement through FEMA because the applicant cant be us it has to be the person responsible for purchasing everything,” said Walnut Lawn Funeral Home Owner Ruth Ann Wood-Humiston.
According to FEMA, some of the expenses eligible for reimbursement are casket or urn, burial plot or cremation niche, marker or headstone.
Somethings not covered is travel expenses new clothes purchased to attend the funeral. You can start applying for reimbursements in early April by calling an 800-number that is not available yet. Otto said the recent stimulus package allows FEMA to offer funeral assistance for COVID-19 deaths through 20-25.
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