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Politics & Government

Hundreds in Delaware benefitting from federal COVID funeral relief

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Local officials are promoting a federal program that pays for funeral expenses related to COVID. 

A new FEMA program reimburses out-of-pocket funeral expenses up to $9,000 for deaths related to COVID occurring after January 20, 2020. The cause of death must be documented on the death certificate as being related to COVID. 

The program started last month and state Register of Wills Ciro Poppiti says hundreds in Delaware have made claims with about $75,000 given out so far. 

“And folks are in queue to receive more money,” said Poppiti. “So the program has already been a hit. Folks are already getting money. And it’s indicative of how user friendly it is.”   

Those bereaved by COVID can apply for federal relief over phone with FEMA by 844-684-6333. Online applications will not be accepted. Necessary documents can then be uploaded at disasterassistance.gov, or faxed to 844-261-3452.

Poppiti notes the program is also of benefit to funeral directors who are owed outstanding bills. 

“I also think that this is an opportunity to make funeral directors whole who have been extraordinarily generous this year, in terms of forgiving fees,” he said.   

The state counts more than 1,600 COVID-related deaths in Delaware to date.