INDIANAPOLIS (WUNSCH / CNN) – The Federal Agency for Disaster Protection pays up to $ 9,000 for a funeral and nearly $ 35,000 for families who have buried multiple people who have died of COVID-19.
The money is intended for families who have paid the funeral expenses out of their own pocket. However, the program’s debut on Monday was marked by busy signals and “technical issues,” the agency said on Monday, noting that it had received “thousands of calls” on the first day of operation.
“We ask applicants to be patient as we work to fix these issues and have all relevant documents ready when they call to apply,” said FEMA. “Please note that there is no application deadline and that applicants have the opportunity to open a case.”
More than 562,000 people in the United States had died from the coronavirus as of Monday Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering Dashboard. A total of 12,746 Hoosiers have died of COVID-19 as of Monday. according to Indiana health officials.
Amy Sloan buried her father Charlie in April 2020. Charlie Sloan had a modest life insurance policy to cover some of the costs associated with his death. Amy, her sister, and her mother had to pay a few thousand dollars in funeral expenses that were not covered by the policy.
“Is my mother entitled to get some of this money back because the wording is very vague?” Sloan asked News 8.
When Charlie Sloan was hospitalized last year, his family was told that he was infected with the virus. Charlie Sloan’s family received a call in the middle of the night that it was time to take him off life support.
“The entire funeral was covered for the funeral home because the funerals were so small at the time that we technically didn’t have to pay for a service because there weren’t enough people to hold a service, and then we interfered for the entire funeral . the land cost for the cemetery and its stone, ”Sloan said.
FEMA assumes the costs for the coffin, the funeral, the transport of the deceased, the burial site and the burial or cremation for people who died of COVID-19 after January 20, 2020 The death must have occurred in the United States or in the US territories. The person seeking assistance must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen, or a qualified alien or immigrant.
Andy Clayton, the managing director of Indiana Funeral Directors Associationsaid his group provides information to funeral homes and families. FEMA funeral aid money is paid directly to families, not funeral homes.
Clayton said, “You don’t have to be a citizen of the United States to be eligible if someone is in this country on a work visa or may be illegal and has died of COVID and it is listed on your death certificate as a contributing factor.”
People cannot apply for assistance online. You have to call 844-684-6333 and FEMA warns that there is already fraud;; Nobody is going to call to offer people to sign you up. The TTY number is 800-462-7585. Both numbers are open to callers on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
While FEMA has a history of helping families with disaster-related funeral expenses, CNN reports, the COVID-19 effort is the largest of its kind. Approximately $ 2 billion was raised from the $ 900 billion Congress approved in December, while the Democrats’ $ 1.9 trillion package last month backed the agency with an additional $ 50 billion in coronavirus costs.