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FEMA funeral program doesn't cover pre-paid arrangements

Some families are applying and are surprised by the denial due to pre-paid stipulation.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Fact: FEMA is paying up to $9,000 in funeral expenses for those who died of COVID.
Fact: The only way to get the money is to call FEMA 844-684-6333 and apply for the program.
Fact: No one from FEMA will call you and ask you to apply. If they do, it's a scam.

Three facts. And while the last two are pretty clear, the first one needs some explaining.

You see, the funeral expenses covered are a long list from transportation to burial plots and even to clergy services and even costs associated with getting the death certificate.

The problem is pre-planned or pre-paid funerals. Those cannot be reimbursed by the program.

“I'm not trying to bash anybody, I'm trying to inform all of the people who prepaid who aren't aware that they might get denied reimbursement,” said Jerry Barske.

Jerry says he feels like his family is getting punished for planning ahead.
His mother Helen died from COVID-19 last November. She set aside money to pay for her funeral back in 2017 because she didn't want to put a burden on her children.

Various lawmakers have said they will look into this and see if something can be changed, but as of now, the fact is pre-paid arrangements aren't being reimbursed.

Just to be crystal clear:
• If you haven't already applied, FEMA won't contact you;
• FEMA won't contact you, via phone, email, or social media asking for your social security number or banking information
• Don't give up any personal or financial info to anyone who contacts you out of the blue.
• FEMA won't ask you to pay for the program.