NOTE: Those needing assistance are asked to call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number at 844.684.6333, TTY: 800.462.7585, starting April 12 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. The number was listed incorrectly in last night's on-air story.
A big help is on the way for people who have lost a loved one to COVID-19.
Starting Monday, FEMA is accepting applications for COVID-19 funeral assistance.
Those who qualify could receive thousands of dollars per funeral.
“They wheeled her away in a wheelchair and that was the last time I hugged my mom while she was alive,” Lorena Llamas said.
The pain doesn’t get any easier for Llamas, who lost her 67-year-old mother Martha to COVID-19 in August of 2020.
She died at the University Medical Center after days of battling the virus and the unexpected death brought along a whirlwind of loss for the family.
“When you add an unexpected $10,000 out the door before we can even render services to you, it’s a shock to the system,” Llamas said.
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Help is coming for the thousands of Americans who lost a loved one to COVID-19.
FEMA will give financial help for COVID-19 related funeral expenses that occurred after January 20, 2020.
Funerals are a usually unexpected event, and Llamas found herself trying to find the money amid the struggles of the pandemic.
“I have other friends that lost family members as well and they were out doing car washes,” Llamas said. “People have had to go to great lengths to get the money to give the proper goodbye to their family members.”
Llamas created a GoFundMe in the hopes of raising enough money.
She was fortunate enough to have reached her goal and had a socially distant funeral.
With whatever assistance Llamas receives from FEMA, she says she wants to pay it forward.
“I really want to put it back into the community and help in a donation to those that are going through the similarities that I’ve gone through in losing a family member,” Llamas said.