KSL INVESTIGATES

COVID-19 funeral assistance available to reimburse funeral costs for families 

Feb 1, 2022, 10:15 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:46 pm

SALT LAKE CITYMore Americans lose their lives to COVID-19 with each passing day. There is financial help from the federal government for families who lose loved ones to the virus, but most people are not getting it. 

The saddest reality of this pandemic is the death toll. Close to 900,000 Americans have perished. 

Through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the families of patients where COVID-19 contributed to their deaths have been eligible for “COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.”  

The billion-dollar fund covers “$9,000 per deceased individual.” The money can go towards just about every type of death and funeral expense you can think of.

Any American is eligible, and families need only a death certificate and receipts for their funeral expenses. 

But as the KSL Investigators examined the federal data, it shows most Americans who qualify are not even applying for the money. Of the more than 800,000 deaths, only families of an estimated 300,000 have filed for the reimbursement.  

Here in Utah, $7,140,566 has been reimbursed to 1,674 applicants.

We have had 4,107 deaths and 60% of eligible Utah families have missed out on this assistance. 

“It’s certainly amazing,” said Ed Michael Reggie of the program.

Reggie is a former hospital administrator and now makes a living comparing funeral costs on the website Funeralocity.com. He said the FEMA money could completely cover the funeral costs for most people. 

“Believe you me, this is generous, because the average funeral in America for burial is $7,700. A cremation is $4,500,” Reggie said. 

So, why aren’t people applying?

Reggie suspects it is a combination of people not knowing about the fund and others perhaps feeling too overwhelmed to deal with bureaucratic red tape as they mourn. 

“All the feedback we’re hearing from families, from funeral directors, is that it’s a pretty simple process,” he said. 

FEMA isn’t letting people do this online, but you can find more information here.  

To apply, you need to call 888-684-6333. 

And if you have lost a loved one, even if it was back in early 2020, there is no deadline to apply for reimbursement. 

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COVID-19 funeral assistance available to reimburse funeral costs for families