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Not many taking advantage of federal help for COVID-19 funeral expenses

If you had a loved one die from complications from coronavirus, you are eligible for compensation to help with funeral expenses.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you had a loved one die from coronavirus or from complications caused by the virus, you can apply for financial help within the American Rescue Plan.

More than 60% of people deemed eligible to receive this benefit have not applied, and some of the money is specifically earmarked for this use. It’s called funeral assistance: money provided by the federal government to families impacted by the coronavirus.

“No income thresholds, but do your homework before you call FEMA because they may ask about income, but it won’t disqualify you,” Ed Michael Reggie, who runs Funeralocity.com, said. 

Reggie encourages people to have the necessary documentation in front of them when they start this process. Those looking to apply for financial assistance will need the bill from the funeral home and the death certificate to match the bill.

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Credit: Adobe Stock Images

“Interestingly enough, many counties in America do not list the cause of death on the death certificate, so you will have to seek guidance from FEMA and perhaps provide a letter from the doctor. But it is a pretty simple process," Reggie said.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Stack of 100 dollar bills with illustrative coronavirus stimulus payment check to show the virus stimulus payment to Americans

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In North Carolina, 7,704 applications were submitted by mid-August with $32.3 million being given to families.  

In South Carolina, 5,314 applications were submitted, with $23.7 million handed out. 

It is not a lock, though. The paperwork submitted has to be solid and will be checked. And be careful of fraud, it’s best to call and apply -- disregard calls received out of the blue. 

Contact Bill McGinty at bmcginty@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.