COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)- More than 18,000 Ohioans have died from the coronavirus. Now the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will help pay for funeral expenses for those individuals.
Especially for the people who lost someone unexpectedly, funeral home owner and Director Jon Rettig, Sr. said they may not be prepared to pay for the funeral, “The younger person that maybe has three kids on a limited income and is struck by this was not prepared.”
Starting on Monday, April 12, 2021, people can apply for FEMA to reimburse them up to 9,000 dollars for the funerals of people who have died from COVID-19 complications. If someone has paid for multiple funerals, they can be reimbursed for up to 35,500 dollars.
“This was just kind of a, throwing them a lifeline so to speak, to help out,” said Rettig.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people,” said Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton. “Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate.”
Rettig has already began contacting clients who may be eligible and letting them know that they can begin applying on Monday, April 12. He wants everyone to be aware of the program.
FEMA’s current requirements:
- 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.
- 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.
Applicants will need an official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States and funeral expense documents. Rettig recommends contacting your funeral home for help with this.
FEMA is also warning people to watch out for scams related to this program. They will not contact anyone who has not applied for assistance.