FEMA will offer COVID-19 funeral cost reimbursement through CARES ACT

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is working to ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by COVID-19 for families who lost loved ones during the pandemic.

FEMA announced that through the CARES Act, it will provide financial assistance reimbursing for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.

While the agency is working to establish a toll-free number where individuals can apply for funeral assistance, it is encouraging families to gather and hold important documents that will be required for reimbursement including official death certificates and funeral home contracts and receipts.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than half a million American lives have been lost to the virus. The Rev. Mycal Brickhouse of Cary First Christian Church, lost his grandmother, Patricia to the virus in July. Brickhouse said he feels the gesture by the federal government to offer a reimbursement for funeral expenses is a way to pay tribute to the victims and their families.

"For families, that their loved ones have gone away to this disaster, I think it's, having this moment to say, 'we're here for you,' and it will help them in their grieving process to help them know that their loved one really does matter to the nation," Brickhouse said.

The cost for a funeral and burial in the United States can cost as much as $12,000, according to insurance research. FEMA has $2 billion earmarked for reimbursements but it isn't known how much will be allotted for each funeral. The official death certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and show that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
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