Wichita funeral homes offering help with federal COVID-19 related reimbursements

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 8:12 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - If you paid for a funeral last year and your loved one died of COVID-19, you may qualify to get money back for those expenses.

Starting Monday, April 12, FEMA will begin accepting applications for funeral assistance related to COVID-19. Funeral homes like Downing and Lahey in east Wichita want to help families. They posted information about the federal reimbursements on their website. To qualify for the funds, you must meet criteria including proof of funeral expenses paid after Jan. 20, 2020 and a death certificate saying the death was related to COVID-19.

“We feel like it’s our job as the funeral home to assist the families at the time of death and moving forward after the death occurs,” said Downing and Lahey Mortuaries Vice President Allison Walden. “This is a piece we weren’t expecting and we know they weren’t expecting. So we feel it is our duty to inform them the best we can.”

Downing and Lahey is sending out 100 letters to families with this information. In Kansas alone, there have been 4,900 deaths related to COVID-19. This includes 587 in Sedgwick County.

“I think it’s a great thing that FEMA is doing for these families because these deaths were not expected, not planned, and many may not have happened for a few years if it weren’t for COVID,” Walden said.

FEMA is reimbursing families for up to $9,000 per funeral. Households that have lost more than one family member to COVID can receive up to $35,000. FEMA will begin accepting applications by phone on Monday. You can call the agency at 1-844-684-6333 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is no deadline to apply.

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