More than 4,000 Nebraskans died due to Covid so far, Nebraska families to check if they are eligible for funeral assistance provided by FEMA
OMAHA, Nebraska – For the first time in its history, FEMA is assisting families who have lost loved ones due to COVID with burial expenses.
The government is providing assistance because the disease has claimed so many lives. FEMA gave about $2 billion to over 300,000 families during the first year of the program.
There is no deadline for reimbursement money eligibility. The agency believes there are eligible families who have not yet applied for assistance.
During the height of the pandemic, hospitals in Nebraska were filled with COVID-infected patients. There are currently over 500,000 confirmed cases in the state. Over 4,000 of these patients died as a result of COVID.
The federal government is offering assistance for COVID-related funeral costs incurred after January 20, 2020.
“So I think it was a pretty important piece of legislation that gave families a nice piece of mind even though they’re going through a tragic loss, at least the financial component is something that could ease their mind,” said funeral director Bill Cutler IV with Heafey, Hoffman, Dworak and Cutler.
According to Cutler, applying for funeral assistance is simple.
“What they need is really just a death certificate that states the death was due to COVID, have to supply them a statement of goods and services from the funeral home that we provide them, and then just the proof of payment.”
However, national and Nebraska statistics indicate that just approximately half of eligible families have applied for funeral aid thus far. And while the procedures may seem straightforward, they can be time-consuming.
“In the state of Nebraska, the death certificate process can take anywhere between a week, to two weeks, to 90 days, it all depends on the circumstance of the death. The process to get reimbursed could take anywhere between probably between three to nine months.”
According to Cutler, personal preference may be the reason why many people do not apply for the cash, but a full reimbursement might cover the typical cost of a burial.
“It could help a lot. They are able to be reimbursed up to 9,000, so that’s very beneficial for the family.”
Families that have arranged funeral arrangements in advance are ineligible for the program.
Monday through Friday, you can contact FEMA’s helpline at 1-844-684-6333 or visit their website for more information about its funeral aid program.