FEMA provides funeral assistance to families of COVID-19 victims

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — FEMA is still providing assistance for the funerals of COVID-19 victims. The federal agency is reimbursing families up to $9,000 for funeral expenses.

“FEMA’s mission is to help people before, during and after a disaster," said Juan Ayala, external affairs adviser for FEMA Region 6. "The president declared the COVID pandemic a federal disaster and granted a disaster declaration to the state of New Mexico."

So far, FEMA has helped more than 1,154 New Mexican families, providing $5.8 million dollars in relief around the state.

“The government has taken a number of steps to try to address the economic impact. But as you’ve stated, people have gone through such personal loss as a result of the pandemic, losing their loved ones,” said Ayala. “So this is a measure to try to help them recover economically for such a tremendous loss that they weren’t planning or anticipating.”

Ayala said there is still more money available for families.

“These are for folks who either lacked insurance or were underinsured for their expenses,” said Ayala.

For assistance, all that is needed is documentation for expenses and a death certificate identifying COVID-19 as a contributing cause.

“The pandemic is ongoing so there is not a deadline yet. But we would definitely recommend that people don’t wait to see if they are eligible for this assistance,” Ayala said.

Applications cannot be submitted online. It’s necessary to call to find out if you could get help. The call center, which can reached at 844-684-6333, is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.