FEMA to start taking applicants for COVID-related funeral reimbursements

FEMA works to reimburse funeral expenses for people who died of COVID

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KOAT) - A New Mexico funeral director said too many families have lost loved ones to COVID-19, catching many off guard and unprepared financially.

“As if the emotional part of it wasn’t enough, to shell out that much money is just incredibly tough,” said Gloria Salazar, owner and funeral director at Salazar Funeral Homes and Crematory.

She said the average cost for funeral arrangements can be $10,000 or more.

A new reimbursement program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency could take some of the weight off grieving relatives. It will begin accepting applications April 12.

“To be able to be compensated $9000, it’s amazing,” Salazar said. “I can’t believe it.”

Through FEMA, eligible families could get up to $9,000 reimbursed. The agency said on its site that applicants can receive assistance for multiple deceased individuals, with a $35,500 maximum per application per state, territory or the District of Columbia.

Funeral reimbursements are available to all Americans who have lost a loved one due to the coronavirus after Jan. 20, 2020.

To apply, people will need a death certificate, funeral contract and receipts.

The funding is from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

FEMA says people should be on the lookout for scammers. It will not contact people directly about being reimbursed for funeral costs.

More information can be found on FEMA.gov.

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