Families who lost loved ones from COVID-19 qualify for reimbursement

If you lost someone due to COVID-19, there is help available to offset funeral expenses.

The federal program offers up to $9,000 to cover burial expenses, but so far not many have received the help.

One local funeral director said he's only gotten a couple of calls from program administrators verifying information from applicants.

We first told you about the funeral expense program earlier this year, but the toll free number to apply for the aid was quickly over run.

FEMA has worked out the issues with the application process, and now benefits are being sent to people to help cover funeral expenses for those who died from COVID-19.

The program covers the cost of a burial plot, burial services casket, cremation and even a headstone.

To qualify, the death must have happened in the U.S. after Jan. 20, 2020.

More than 6,000 Harris County residents have died from COVID-19, but only a few hundred Texans have received the aid.

A funeral director said he thinks most surviving family members simply do not know the benefit is available.

"They are not applying for it. The money is out there the applications are out there, people are just not filling out the paperwork and going through the motions to take care of it," said William Smeltz from South Houston Funeral Home.

The hotline to call for benefits is (844) 684-6333. You can find out more on FEMA's website.

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