The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program has provided more than $8 million to Coloradans to help pay for funeral expenses of people whose deaths are related to COVID-19 — and applications for funds are still being accepted, the agency said in a news release.
Funerals can be financially straining, with an average cost of $7,000 according to U.S. Funerals Online. Given the increased financial stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused more than 8,500 reported deaths in Colorado, Congress authorized FEMA to help residents pay for funerals.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families,” FEMA stated on its website. “At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.”
FEMA’s program offers financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, for “deaths related to COVID-19,” FEMA stated in the news release. This includes funds to help pay for cremation, burial expenses, transfer of remains, headstones, transportation for identifying the deceased individual and more.
As of Nov. 2, 1,487 Coloradans have received funds amounting to more than $8.3 million from the program, FEMA said in the release.
With no end date set on the program, applications are still being accepted. Applicants can apply for funds to help pay for multiple funerals, with up to $9,000 available per funeral and a maximum of $35,000 per application, FEMA said.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals or qualified, legal immigrants, but the deceased person does not need to meet those requirements.
Those interested in applying can call FEMA at 844-684-6333 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The text teletype number (TTY) for those who are deaf or hard of hearing is 800-462-7585.
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