Over 2,400 Illinoisans have applied for COVID-19 funeral reimbursement
The hotline where applicants can start the process was overwhelmed when FEMA opened the process Monday. They expect the crush of calls to continue and ask for patience.
More than 2,400 Illinois residents have applied to be reimbursed for COVID-19-related funeral expenses since Monday when the Federal Emergency Management Agency opened the application process.
A total of 2,405 applications originating from Illinois had been filed as of midday Wednesday, according to FEMA spokesman Dan Shulman. Nationally, 56,302 applications had been filed.
Illinois’ COVID-19 death toll was 21,570 as of Wednesday; the national death toll was 562,994.
FEMA is offering up to $9,000 per burial to help families cover the funeral expenses of loved ones. The deceased does not need to be a relative to qualify.
The application process can be started by calling 844-684-6333.
There’s currently no deadline for the program, which launched Monday and was quickly overwhelmed by callers.
“We ask for people’s patience,” Shulman said. “We expect that volume to continue for at least the foreseeable future. But there’s no expectation we will not have sufficient funds to pay every eligible claim.”
To qualify for the money:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national or qualified immigrant who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national or qualified immigrant.
Those eligible for funeral assistance can receive the money via check by mail or direct deposit.
Assistance is limited to $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.