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COVID may have created unfortunate and unexpected deaths, but no more so that any other unexpected cause of death, no more than an unfortunate accident.
BOSTON (AP) — When Wanda Olson’s son-in-law died in March after contracting COVID-19, she and her daughter had to grapple with more than just their sudden grief. They had to come up with money for a cremation. Even without a funeral, the bill came to nearly $2,000, a hefty sum that Olson initially covered.
She and her daughter then learned of a federal program that reimburses families up to $9,000 for funeral costs for loved ones who died of COVID-19.
Olson’s daughter submitted an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, received a deposit by June and was able to reimburse her mother the $1,974. “Had this not been available, we would have been paying the money ourselves,” said Olson, 80, of Villa Rica, Georgia. “There wasn’t any red tape.
This was a very easy, well-handled process.” As of Dec. 6, about 226,000 people had shared in the nearly $1.5 billion that FEMA has spent on funeral costs that occurred after Jan. 20, 2020, the date of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S.
With the nation’s coronavirus death toll topping 800,000, it’s clear that many families who are eligible for reimbursement have yet to take advantage of the funeral benefit.