By: Diane Benjamin
I get alerts by email on local deaths. One of the recent ones was a supporter of mine, so I clicked on the link. I’m not going to say the name since I don’t know if making it public would be okay.
The alert took me to the Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home website where I found the below. I had not heard of this program: https://www.kiblerbradyruestman.com/
At Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home, we want the citizens of Bloomington-Normal and the surrounding communities we serve to be aware that families who experienced the death of a loved one due to COVID-19 may be eligible for up to $9,000 in funeral assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“If there is anything we can do to assist families with the FEMA application process please call us at 309-828-2422. We are here to offer guidance and be a resource for any family who qualifies for reimbursement.” -Tim Ruestman, Funeral Director, Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home
Two pieces of legislation recently passed by Congress – the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – authorized FEMA to provide financial assistance to families that incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral and memorial services, and burial, interment or cremation. Individuals who apply may call the dedicated number for reimbursement at 1-844-684-6333. FEMA encourages families that may be eligible to start gathering the following documentation:
An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
Funeral expense documents (e.g., receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance; financial assistance received from voluntary agencies; federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies; or other sources.
If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant(s). Applicants can also apply for assistance for more than one individual who died.
The FEMA website has complete information about eligibility requirements, documentation applicants will be required to provide, and how to start the application process. Visit https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.