OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Losing a loved one any time is difficult, let alone during a pandemic. This difficult time, also one of financial strain for many. To help ease this burden, this month FEMA will begin offering aid for those lost to COVID-19.
Starting April 12, families that lost a loved one to the coronavirus can contact FEMA to apply for funeral relief.
“This will help reimburse the family for funeral costs, including casket and transfer of remains and paying the funeral home,” said Tyler Stiles, deputy director of the Oklahoma Funeral Board.
Prior to receiving the relief, there are a few things you need to do.
“The biggest thing is that families will need to gather documents from the funeral home, their contract and then a copy of the death certificate that reflects that their loved one passed away from COVID-19,” said Stiles.
The death certificate must also list the location as the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
The funeral expense documents, such as receipts, funeral home contracts, etc. must include the applicant’s and deceased person’s names, as well as the amount of funeral costs and the dates they occured.
Proof of funds received from other sources that went toward funeral costs should also be prepared prior to applying.
Another important aspect to note: The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien who incurred the funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. These specifics do not apply to the deceased.
If you are eligible for this assistance, the funds will arrive either by check in the mail or through direct deposit.
You can begin calling the COVID-19 funeral assistance line on April 12. The phone numbers are 844-684-6333 or for TTY: 800-462-7585. Hours of operation will be Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time.
Some funeral expenses that are covered include:
- Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual
- Transfer of remains
- Casket or urn
- Burial plot or cremation niche
- Marker or headstone
- Clergy or officiant services
- Arrangement of the funeral ceremony
- Use of funeral home equipment or staff
- Cremation or interment costs
- Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates
- Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances