AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — FEMA is now accepting applications for financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral costs, which could help many families of the more than 700 people who have died from the virus in Potter and Randall counties alone.
As of Monday, April 12, people can apply for up to $9,000 in COVID-19 funeral reimbursements.
“You know, for those families that have experienced COVID-related deaths, there are funds available that they can apply for,” said Freda Powell, Amarillo City Council member for Place 2.
Powell also works at Warford-Walker Mortuary, and said this help is needed.
“You know, during COVID, there were a lot of unexpected deaths that occurred, you know, which is very sad for our city,” Powell said. “And so all of the funeral homes in Amarillo have certainly been working together and have experienced it.”
General Manager for Golden Gate Mortuary, Julian Reese, said they have hosted many COVID-19 funerals in the last year.
“I’m excited that you know, FEMA, and the government is doing something for families in this for this occasion. We did a lot of funerals, too many to count due to COVID,” said Reese. “But we were just honored their families trusted us to still give them a proper service and burial.”
Reese said many of those services were different from the average funeral.
“People have been passed away unexpectedly, like right away, with no chance of warning signs,” Reese said. “It’s hard to deal with knowing that your family member passed, you know, by themselves in the hospital with the nurses or had trouble as they passed away. So, we try to make sure we give them the resources needed to cope and to be able to handle this part of the transition.”
FEMA said it is dedicated to helping ease some of the financial burdens, but there are still limits to funeral relief.
Reese said, “That’s why it’s so important to get prepared. No matter the age, we’ve seen a lot of different age groups through this COVID. So it’s important to make sure you have a premium, you have life insurance so your family can rest at ease when this time comes.”
According to FEMA, to be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet the following conditions:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
FEMA also encourages those with COVID-19 funeral expenses keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
- Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.
Click here to read FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Individuals and Households Program
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