EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – When Paul Davis’ father died from COVID-19 last January, the funeral cost was not something the family was prepared for.
“The cost was huge. Out of nowhere. All funerals are expensive, [but] it [was] a hit to our family,” said Davis.
Beginning Monday, April 12, the federal government is reimbursing COVID-19 funeral costs up to $9,000, or up to $35,000 for two or more funerals.
“That was a huge surprise to us. I couldn’t be happier. We are very grateful. It takes a lot of pressure off us,” said Davis.
Gary Deiter, owner of Gary Deiter’s Funeral Home & Cremation Services, is helping his clients get their money back.
“We want to help them because obviously anything that we can do to help the family, to take the pressure off them financially, is a great asset,” he said.
To qualify for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires applicants to provide a death certificate and funeral expense reports. All the paperwork has to be submitted at the same time.
“It’s important for people to realize that we’re still here to help them, even though the funeral is over, we want to help them with this next step so they can get the money,” said Deiter.
He said they are happy to help clients with the application process, including scanning and emailing paperwork for free.
Davis said it takes a big burden off, and the money will be put toward other expenses.
“It’s going to mean a great deal to us, recovering back what we spent on our funeral expenses and it’s a relief off us. Now, we can take care of other bills that can be paid,” he said.
FEMA is not accepting any online applications. To initiate a claim, call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance line at 844-684-633.