Thousands of families have had to deal with unexpected funeral costs because of COVID-19, but they may be reimbursed for up to $9,000.
FEMA offers the benefit, but says many people are unaware or not taking advantage of it.
Only 226,000 people have utilized the benefit as of Dec. 6, according to The Sun.
Related: Few aware of federal government program offering reimbursement for funeral costs of those who die of COVID-19
Over 800,000 Americans have passed away from COVID-19.
In order to be eligible, death certificates for the deceased must show the death was due to COVID-19 after May 16, 2020.
Deaths from before this date from Jan. 2020 until May, need to have a signed statement with the death certificate from a medical examiner that the death was COVID-19 related.
Related: CDC revises guidance for those testing positive for COVID-19 with no symptoms from ten day quarantine to five
Those who have used the benefit say it’s a smooth process, but more people should be made aware of it.
The average cost of a burial in the U.S. is about $7,360, and cremations are around $6,260.
The reimbursement can be claimed at any time after the funeral, so many Americans may claim it now.
Related: Nurse says local hospitals are dangerously understaffed: “It’s not working. It’s not safe.”
$1.5 billion has been reimbursed by FEMA so far.
Families can claim up to $9,000 per funeral, or if they lost multiple family member the maximum benefit is $35,500.
The benefits covered with funeral cost reimbursement
Costs covered include
- Transportation to identify the body
- Transfer of the deceased
- Casket or urn
- Marker or headstone
- Funeral home
- Cremation or burial
You may make a claim with FEMA even if insurance covered costs.
For questions about eligibility or filing a claim, call the Covid-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 844-684-6333 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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