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FEMA offers funeral reimbursement in COVID-19 deaths

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BATON ROUGE - FEMA has approved a COVID funeral reimbursement program for families who lost loved ones to the pandemic.

The coronavirus triggered an unexpected increase in business for funeral homes in 2020. Assistant manager, Cedrick Lawson, at Winnfield Funeral Home said it was scary at first. They were getting almost twice the calls for services than they would normally receive.

"Business has increased drastically and expeditiously," Lawson said.

However, the average cost for one burial service at Winnfield is between 9 and 12 thousand dollars, placing some families in a financial bind.

"I've had families that come and want to sell cars or go to title companies to get some cash to pay for services," Lawson said.

To qualify for reimbursement, the cause of death must be listed as "COVID" on the death certificate. FEMA will be offering a maximum of $9,000 per funeral that was not covered by burial insurance.

"I think it will help a lot of families that have gone through hardships," Lawson said.

You can visit FEMA's website for more information on the reimbursement.

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