The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on Idahoans. (Stock photo by Carolyn Booth from Pixabay)
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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