FEMA to reimburse funerals for COVID-19 related deaths

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — FEMA has announced it’s stepping in to assist with funeral costs attributed to COVID-19.

This comes as upwards of 40,000 New Yorkers have died from COVID-19 related illnesses.

“I think it’s going to help people who went into their savings or went into their retirement, or what have you, to pay for a loved one’s funeral,” said owner of Dufresne & Cavanaugh Funeral Home Kevin Cavanaugh.

The news came as a surprise to funeral homeowner who says about 20 to 25 percent of families have struggled to bury their loved ones that have died from COVID.

“We have to commend the government for what they’re doing. There are a lot of families that certainly weren’t prepared for deaths of loved ones,” Cavanaugh said.

The funeral owner said a funeral can cost $7,000 to $10,000.

$2 billion of the assistance program will go to “individuals and households” for funeral expenses incurred between January 20 and December 31 of 2020. The money comes from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.

A FEMA spokesperson told NEWS10ABC: “Although we cannot change the outcome of what has happened, we are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden created by this deadly virus.”

“I hope we made the turn and I hope families are able to go back grieving and mourning their loved ones in a proper way,” Cavanaugh said.

FEMA will begin accepting applications in April and a toll-free line is in the works.

People eligible for the assistance program must meet there 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.

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