FEMA Planning To Launch COVID-19 Funeral Cost Reimbursement Program In April

Mike Seals - March 18, 2021 11:47 pm

Families nationwide who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 will soon be able to apply for funeral reimbursements with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The announcement was made Tuesday by FEMA’s acting administrator, Bob Fenton, during the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee.

The final details of the program are still being worked out, as far as who may qualify for what.

December’s stimulus package, along with this most recent one approved are helping fund the program.

“While we’ve done funeral assistance and disasters, we’ve never done anything at this scale or scope,” said Fenton during the hearing held virtually.

People wanting to apply will call a 1-800 number and speak to an actual person opposed to applying online.

The program is expected to be launched in early April.

It is all about empathy, Fenton said during Tuesday’s hearing.

“With empathy being the priority, we want to be able to case manage and have that human-to-human interaction as we do this and do it in a way that supports everyone’s needs,” said Fenton.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many funeral homes hard including the Rolfe Funeral Home in Oklahoma City. Watching families lose loved ones, the funeral home’s president said has been hard.

“Not only are the families suffering from losing their loved ones, but the cost of all of these unexpected funerals and (has taken a toll) on the families,” said Joe Anna Sicard, President of Rolfe Funeral Home. “I congratulate FEMA 1oo%.”

Money may not bring loves ones back, but it’s welcome help. Especially for Anadarko City Council Member Patrick Redbird, who lost four family members to COVID-19, including his aunt, Cheryl McClellan.

“This is a big, major thing for most of us because most of us work from paycheck to paycheck,” said Redbird. “Sometimes we have to borrow money just to even bury somebody. We still have to pay that back.”

 

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