Sainato urges residents to apply for FEMA COVID-19 funeral assistance

NEW CASTLE, March 28 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, is reminding residents who incurred funeral expenses because of a COVID-19-related death that they may be eligible for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Sainato, who is Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program is designed to help those who have borne the greatest burden because of the pandemic.

“Although our entire community has felt the effects of the pandemic, the toll has been heaviest on those who lost a loved one,” Sainato said. “I want to be sure families who have suffered those devastating losses are aware that help is available to ease the financial burden, including reimbursement for a wide range of funeral-related expenses.

“Those might include expenses for activities such as transportation to identify a deceased individual; transfer of remains; a burial plot, marker or headstone; clergy services; and other related costs.”

Sainato said that to be eligible for reimbursement, the funeral expenses must have been incurred after January 20, 2020, for a COVID-19-related death occurring in the United States. The death certificate must attribute the death to COVID-19. The program may help reimburse the use of life insurance to cover funeral costs, but it will not provide reimbursement where the funds used were specifically designated to pay for a funeral.

Assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.

More information, including answers to frequently asked questions, is available by visiting this page: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.

Residents can also learn more and can apply by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 1-844-684-6333 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.