On Monday, hundreds of thousands of families became eligible for FEMA relief that will help with funeral costs incurred by the pandemic.
FEMA announced payments of up to $9,000 per funeral with up to $35,500 allocated per application.
With more than 562,000 American lives lost to the virus, there is no understanding of how much it might cost the government. But the money was included in the $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan passed in March.
“I sobbed and sobbed because I said, 'Finally, you’re talking about us,'” said Lucy Casarez, who lost her husband of 24 years, her sister-in-law, and mother-in-law to COVID last year. “I know there’s a lot of other things that go into it, but the recognition is the top of my list because I suffered so much last year.”
Casarez, who is a Marked by COVID member, was the first in her family to contract COVID-19 in early March of 2020 before much of what we know about COVID was learned.
She survived, but her husband soon became ill and was transferred to an ICU before he was placed on a ventilator for 15 days.
“My heart ripped out of my chest. I never, in a million years, thought I’d lose my husband, and lose him that way,” she said.
Casarez plans to apply for the FEMA assistance come Monday, a day that would have marked 25 years of marriage with her husband.
According to FEMA, those who fall under these categories will be eligible for the assistance:
1. The death must have occurred in the United States or in a U.S. territory
2. The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19
3. The funeral expenses must have come after January 20th, 2020
4. There is no requirement that the deceased person be a U.S. citizen
To apply for assistance, call FEMA’s dedicated hotline at 844-684-6333.