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FEMA provides COVID-19 funeral aid

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Eligible New Mexicans can apply for financial assistance for funerals related to COVID-19 deaths through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services issued an announcement Wednesday to remind people about the available funding.

As part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan, FEMA has already distributed funeral expense assistance funds to roughly 465 New Mexicans, averaging $5,200 in aid per registration. Another 860 residents already have been approved for assistance and should receive funds shortly.

The program covers funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, including costs for funeral services, cremations, interments, headstones and officiant services, among other costs. For deaths that occurred after May 16, 2020, the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19. For deaths that occurred between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020, any death certificate that does not attribute the cause of death to COVID-19 must be accompanied by a signed statement listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.

Assistance is available to U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals and qualified aliens. The program does have some other requirements.

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To apply, call the 844-684-6333 to get an application, which can be completed with help from FEMA representatives. Multilingual services are available. The phone number for people with hearing difficulties is 800-462-7585. No online applications will be accepted.

More information is available on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website, fema.gov.