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FEMA has paid more than $1.9 million for Idaho COVID-19 funerals

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Hundreds of Idahoans have applied for FEMA assistance to pay funeral bills related to COVID-19. (Stock photo by Carolyn Booth from Pixabay)

Hundreds of Idahoans applied for a program to help pay for COVID-19 burials and other costs.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says 624 Idahoans have begun applying for help with funeral costs for loved ones who died of COVID-19.

So far, FEMA has approved 331 of those requests, for a total of $1.9 million in federal aid for COVID-19 funerals, according to a Sept. 20 news release.

The agency has provided more than $1.1 billion in financial assistance to nearly 170,000 people to help cover funeral costs for people who died of causes related to COVID-19 since Jan. 20, 2020, the release said.

There have been more than 2,700 COVID-19-related deaths among Idahoans since the pandemic began, according to data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The FEMA funds can go toward a funeral, cremation, casket or urn, burial plot, headstone and other expenses.

For people who lost multiple loved ones to COVID-19, the program provides a maximum of $9,000 per deceased individual, up to a total of $35,500.

Applicants can call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 844-684-6333 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mountain Time, Monday through Friday. Return calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.

Here are the criteria to be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance:

  • For deaths that occurred after May 16, 2020, the death certificate must attribute the death to COVID-19.
  • For deaths that occurred from Jan. 20 to May 16, 2020, if the death certificate doesn’t attribute the cause of death to COVID-19, the certificate must be accompanied by a signed statement saying COVID-19 was a cause or contributing cause of death, and explaining how COVID-19 caused or contributed to the death. That statement can come from the original certifier of the death certificate or, in Idaho, from a coroner in the county where the death occurred.

Visit FEMA.gov for more information.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.