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FEMA Offering Funds For COVID-19 Funeral, Burial Costs

Americans who’ve lost family members to COVID-19 can now apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to cover their funeral and burial costs.

Within 90 minutes of posting the Funeral Assistance phone line Monday, FEMA’s call center was overwhelmed by nearly a million phone calls.On its website, the agency urged callers to try again later if they receive a busy signal or are unable to connect, and reminded those calling that there is no deadline to apply for burial funds.

The program will provide up to $9,000 per COVID-19 related death to the deceased’s family to cover their burial costs.

Applicants must be, a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. Applicants will be required to show an official death certificate attributing the death to COVID-19 within the U.S. or its territories, as well as documentation detailing funeral expenses and any other funds received, such as burial insurance.

To date, at least1,526 people have died from the coronavirus in Montana. While there appears to be an uptick in COVID-19 deaths this month, these numbers are not an accurate reflection of the current situation but the result of the state health department reconciling death record data from as far back as October 2020.

Those seeking to apply for funeral assistance funds can call (844) 684-6333, or TTY: 800-462-7585, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mountain Time.

Kaitlyn Nicholas is Yellowstone Public Radio's Report for America Indigenous affairs reporter.

Kaitlyn Nicholas covers tribal news in Montana.