GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
Losing a loved one is a terrible reality many of us will have to face in our lives, and paying for a funeral can be a disaster. General Manager, Jay Wilson, with Brown’s Cremation & Funeral Service says, “It’s a burden having to pay that money when it’s unexpected. It’s a burden for a lot of families.”
But, FEMA’s mission is helping people through disasters, and the organization has provided close to 1,500 Coloradans with more than $8 million in assistance to help relieve the financial burden of losing a loved one to COVID-19. “Since COVID has started, we have handled well over 200 decedents,” said Wilson.
Up to $9,000 is available per funeral, and more than $35,000 available per application. But, the funeral assistance program reimbursement doesn’t just cover the costs of caskets or headstones, it covers people might not think about while they’re going through the toughest of times. Wilson says, “When someone passes in the front range, they still have to get here and there’s a cost to that and it’s rather costly.”
The program reimburses funeral expenses for cremation or burial and other expenses including: the transfer of remains, and transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased, so you can celebrate the life of your loved the best way. “We were able to maneuver it to where they could get the burial that they wanted for their family, have the right tribute, have the right services that they wanted for their family, and didn’t have to settle for a method of disposition that they just had to economically,” said Wilson.
You don’t have to be a family member to apply but, you must be a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien, and there’s one requirement for the departed. “If your death certificate is labeled COVID-19 or COVID-19 related by a medical examiner, a coroner, or whoever you signed off on your death certificate. You are eligible for reimbursement,” said Wilson.
There is currently no end date for the program.