INDIANAPOLIS — Some financial relief could soon be on the way for families who lost a loved one to COVID-19.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced a COVID-19 funeral assistance program, which is designed to reimburse families for certain costs associated with a funeral, burial or cremation. Nearly 13,000 families in Indiana have lost someone to the virus.
On Tuesday, the Applegate & Dillman Elder Law Office in Carmel held an open house to teach families about these funds and help them learn how to apply.
Albert Koeske is working with the law office to apply for the funds. He lost his wife, Sara, to COVID-19.
The pandemic has not only taken an emotional toll on families like Koeske’s, but a financial one as well.
“It was very unexpected. Sometimes they weren’t planning on paying for a funeral,” Attorney Carol Applegate said.
That's why she's working with families to help them apply for these funds through FEMA. Families can receive up to $9,000 per COVID-19 related funeral, or up to $35,000 if multiple members of the family died from the virus.
“The funeral industry wants to be paid pretty immediately, so having to come up with the money was sometimes very difficult for my families. So now to have that money reimbursed is really going to help them," Applegate said.
Koeske said he is on a limited income, so he is grateful for the opportunity to apply.
“This is a really interesting time. All the taxes are due. You got your state, your federal, your property taxes due. I ended up having to have my roof replaced this year, that's a few thousand dollars there. It's about time for the house to be painted. You know all those things that come… the $3,000, which is about what I would receive, should I be allowed to do so, would be greatly appreciated,” Koeske explained.
Applications are not being accepted online, you must call the FEMA hotline to begin the application process at 844-684-6333. You can learn more about who qualifies, what expenses are eligible, and the documents needed to apply by clicking here.