FEMA funeral assistance still available for families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 – NBC Connecticut

The sudden loss of a loved one due to COVID-19 is hard enough. Besides the exorbitant funeral costs, it’s a reality many families have had to contend with very quickly during the pandemic.

FEMA continues to provide financial support through COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Fund.

This exemption is retroactive and relatives can apply for funds to cover the cost of up to $9,000 in funeral expenses for a loved one whose death was attributed to COVID-19 on or after January 20, 2020.

said Sam Harvey, FEMA Individual Assistance Team Leader for Region 1, which covers New England.

After FEMA initially announced the program, their phone lines flooded. But now that calls have slowed, they hope to spread the word about the assistance program.

“When you have these unique scenarios, whether it’s a hurricane or hurricane or in this case a pandemic, leveraging our programs to be able to help those survivors is what we generally do,” Harvey said.

He said your application would not take money from other families; There is money to go around.

To date, of the approximately 4,900 Connecticut residents who have applied for this assistance, Nearly 4,000 eligible for approximately $27 million combined.

Nationwide, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said $2.5 billion has helped pay for funerals for the more than 398,000 people who died from COVID-19. That means hundreds of thousands of families are still eligible for this funding, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. More than a million deaths from the virus.

“We didn’t expect she would survive this and we were right,” said Steve Wozniki of Simsbury, whose mother Barbara had advanced Alzheimer’s in a Kensington nursing home when COVID-19 took her life.

She passed away two weeks before her 86th birthday in May of 2020.

“It was tragic that we weren’t able to visit her regularly,” Woznicke said.

At the height of the epidemic, his family sensed the burden of many: they could not spend more time with Barbara, a beloved mother with an even greater heart.

But her family has since received an opportunity to at least ease the financial burden through FEMA funding.

“We had no idea anything like that would be available, so it was a complete surprise, and a welcome surprise, you know, to get the money back,” Woznicki said.

“We’ve had several occasions where before one funeral, we had two in the same family,” said David MacDonald, president of Wallingford and Yalesville Funeral Homes. “You’re not used to these kinds of situations, and it was heartbreaking.”

MacDonald is also the president of the Connecticut Association of Funeral Directors.

He said he saw the funding as a relief to the affected families.

“It gave people the opportunity to maybe do more of what they wanted to do versus what they could have done because of the financial circumstances,” MacDonald said.

The funeral director has helped many families gather the paperwork they need to apply for funding, specifically a copy of a death certificate showing that COVID-19 was the cause of death.

“It wasn’t very difficult, but it did take some time,” Woznicke explained about the process. “As I recall, they covered up to $9,000, so you know, that was a big part of what we spent.”

The help brought some financial relief to a grieving family.

“It would have been nice to get the money back. I don’t know, because there was no better term, it was a closure in some way, I guess.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said there is currently no end date for submitting an application for this assistance. Funding does not return expenses already covered by funeral benefits.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, click here.