The Federal Emergency Management Agency says 624 Idahoans have begun applying for help with funeral costs for loved ones who died of COVID-19.
So far, FEMA has approved 331 of those requests, for a total of $1.9 million in federal aid for COVID-19 funerals, according to a Sept. 20 news release.
The agency has provided more than $1.1 billion in financial assistance to nearly 170,000 people to help cover funeral costs for people who died of causes related to COVID-19 since Jan. 20, 2020, the release said.
There have been more than 2,700 COVID-19-related deaths among Idahoans since the pandemic began, according to data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
The FEMA funds can go toward a funeral, cremation, casket or urn, burial plot, headstone and other expenses.
For people who lost multiple loved ones to COVID-19, the program provides a maximum of $9,000 per deceased individual, up to a total of $35,500.
Applicants can call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 844-684-6333 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mountain Time, Monday through Friday. Return calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.
Here are the criteria to be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance:
- For deaths that occurred after May 16, 2020, the death certificate must attribute the death to COVID-19.
- For deaths that occurred from Jan. 20 to May 16, 2020, if the death certificate doesn't attribute the cause of death to COVID-19, the certificate must be accompanied by a signed statement saying COVID-19 was a cause or contributing cause of death, and explaining how COVID-19 caused or contributed to the death. That statement can come from the original certifier of the death certificate or, in Idaho, from a coroner in the county where the death occurred.
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