TAMPA, Fla. — Two weeks after FEMA began accepting applications to reimburse families for COVID-19-related funeral expenses, the agency says it has received thousands of applications from Floridians.
I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern found FEMA has taken in 7,938 applications from Florida alone.
In the first two weeks since the program launched on April 12, FEMA has received nearly 142,000 applications for funeral assistance. That's about a quarter of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S., FEMA said.
The agency has now given out more than $336,000, after running into technical issues when it first began processing applications.
On the first day, the call center received more than one million calls. Some people reached operators while others were left on a busy signal.
FEMA asks that you have all of your important documents ready when you call to apply.
To apply, you must provide a copy of the death certificate, stating the death was caused by, "may have been caused by" or "was likely a result of" COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms.
You also must provide proof of any funeral expenses and assistance received from other sources.
FEMA funeral assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and $35,500 per application if someone was responsible for paying for multiple funerals.
There currently is no deadline to apply.
Applicants may apply by calling 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday. Multilingual services are available. The assistance line has helped applicants in nearly 40 languages.
For a full list of documentation needed and other frequently asked questions about the reimbursement process, click here.