Government assistance will soon be provided for COVID-19 funerals

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- Government assistance has come into play with unemployment, stimulus checks, and now FEMA will be compensating families who lost a loved one due to Covid-19.

Funeral homes and county coroners have had their work cut out for them, but not for the reason you’d think. The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA is providing assistance to those who lost a loved one due to covid 19 dating back to January 2020.

“This relates to any death that happened after January 20, 2020. So we are currently going through all of our files to see the deaths that we have that were covid 19 related and we are going to notify those families that they might be eligible for this if they wish to pursue it,” said Lowndes County Funeral Home director Caleb Pounders.

Pounders said that FEMA is willing to reimburse families, but there has to be money put in to get money out.

“It can’t be a partially paid bill to the funeral home it has to be a fully paid bill to the funeral home and if there was burial insurance that paid for the funeral ahead of time they will not reimburse you,” said Pounders.

Not all covid deaths are listed on the final death certificates. Pounders said that’s because some people didn’t want their loved ones’ death connected to the virus.

“When the covid 19 pandemic first started we had individuals adamant that they didn’t want covid 19 listed on their death certificate. There were a lot of rumors that everybody was getting covid 19 placed on their death certificate because the hospitals were getting more money back from that,” said Pounders.

Covid denial can slow the process, but Lowndes County coroner, Greg Merchant, said his office will stick to their procedures by calling the state’s medical office to establish whether or not Covid-19 was positive in someone’s death.

“It’s been our policy since covid the only way that we would enter covid 19 on a death certificate was if we had a positive result from a covid 19 swab that will remain to be our policy,” said Merchant.

FEMA is still in the process to have all the regulations set in place by April and is working on a number for people to contact if they feel they are eligible for compensation.

Categories: Local News