TRUMBULL—The Diocese of Bridgeport is reaching out to the families who had a loved one die of COVID-19 last year to let them know they can receive up to $9000 for related funeral expenses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We see this as an opportunity to reach out to the families of the 1600 people we buried last year to inform them,” said Dean Gestal, the Director of Catholic Cemeteries. “We can identify 350 we know died of COVID, and there are obviously many more who will be able to recoup some money for funeral expenses and burials.”
In addition, a letter will go out from Bishop Frank J. Caggiano for pastors to read and publish in their parish bulletins, announcing the FEMA program.
Gestal’s office is also sending letters to the 1600 families that buried a loved one in the Catholic cemeteries during 2020 to explain the requirements to obtain the financial assistance.
He said the Catholic Cemeteries Office of the Diocese of Bridgeport is available to assist with any burial information required to file for this assistance, as well as discuss and plan for future needs. (For more information, visit: bridgeportdiocese.org/fema or call the Catholic Cemeteries office at 203.416.1494 or email email@example.com.)
The new FEMA program provides up to $9,000 for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred between January 20, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
You must meet the following conditions to be eligible:
- 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 alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020. (There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national or qualified alien).
FEMA will reimburse families up to $9,000 for COVID-related funeral and burial costs; however, different factors will determine who is eligible to receive the full amount or a portion of the funds.
Before applications open up in April, FEMA recommends those who may be eligible gather the following documentation:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the U.S., including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. (You can obtain one by contacting the State Vital Records Office or vital records office where the death occurred. Sometimes a cemetery, funeral home, or a third-party provider can also request this information).
- Documents that detail funeral expenses, such as receipts, cemetery contract, funeral home contract, etc. They must include the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
- Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. FEMA will not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies or other sources.