FEMA to help grieving families of COVID victims with funeral expenses

DINUBA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Brenda Sanchez-Lara of Dinuba lost her mother Maria to COVID-19 a little less than a year ago. but she says the pain still lingers.

"We were hoping she'd be okay because we were told she was stable, then that she wasn't going to make it, it's difficult," she says.

Her mother died just days after testing positive for the virus.

Along with heartbreak, the family had to deal with planning a funeral.

Sanchez-Lara says it ultimately ended up costing thousands of dollars, a lot of the money coming from GoFundMe donations and even some from her sister's 401K.

Now, those who've lost loved ones to COVID-19 starting in January 2020, like Sanchez-Lara, could be getting some help from the federal government.

Starting next month, FEMA will start a funeral assistance program to help reimburse families for COVID-19 related funeral expenses.

FEMA has $2 billion for reimbursements, that money coming from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Anthony Cisneros of Farewell Funeral Services in Fresno says the average cost for a funeral and burial costs at least $10,000.

"When you couple that with trauma, especially with them not being prepared; they're at a loss with what to do," says Cisneros.

He says until FEMA, there wasn't much financial assistance available, requiring many to turn to donations for help.

"Many of these families even under the best circumstances would not have been equipped financially on the burden," he says.

You can find more information here.
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