FEMA gives money to families for funeral expenses

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) -An unexpected death can bring heartbreak to those left behind. And in the days following, it can also bring unexpected debt.

It has happened to families who have lost loved ones to Covid19.

But if you are eligible, FEMA can help.

The federal agency is reimbursing families for funeral costs – if they are citizens, the death happened here in the United States, the death was attributed to Covid19 and fits the coronavirus timeline.

For many Mississippi families, this has been a season of loss.

There are nearly 13 thousand people who have died from Covid 19 in our state since March of 2020.

And along with the grief, families find themselves planning for services and costs no one was expecting.

That’s why the Federal Emergency Management Agency has offered up to 9 thousand dollars toward covid related deaths.

Hollis Peel, co-manager of Memorial Gunter Peel Funeral Home says if you qualify then you should take advantage of it.

“For sure I can see where in most cases FEMA is going to offer this. So many people have been affected by covid in many ways and for those who had a loss in their family, for FEMA to step up and do this, it’s been great,” said Peel.

And Caleb Pounders President of Lowndes Funeral Home says most families are happy to have this money. He says families tell him they find this process to be easy.

“We’ve had families come back to us and tell us that the process was easy and as soon as they called they had their paperwork together and they went through the process and they didn’t have any problem receiving that money,” said Pounders.

But you need the right documents, including dated funeral invoices, a death certificate, and your own information.

“We’ve heard it can be a headache so it’s best to look on the FEMA website and get the list of the paperwork that you would need prior to making the phone call and go ahead a get those documents together,” said Pounders.

The funeral home that you used may have what you need.

“I’ve had families come to me with nothing and say ‘you told me about the FEMA money, what do I need, and will sit down with them and help them get that paperwork together,” said Pounders.

The FEMA funds can pay for funeral services, a burial plot, and even the costs of death certificates.

Families can apply for funeral assistance online at FEMA.gov/funeral-assistance.

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