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Gov. Cox: FEMA will provide money for COVID-19 funeral costs

(Governor Cox getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Spanish Fork. Credit: KSL TV, Facebook)

SPANISH FORK, Utah — Another form of financial help is coming for people who have been hit by COVID-19: The federal government reports it will cover some of the funeral costs for people killed by the coronavirus, and the governor wants Utahns to start preparing.

The funding will be provided by FEMA and the assistance program will be officially launched in April. However, Gov. Spencer Cox said there are still a lot of details about the specifics of the program that they still don’t know.

 “We don’t have all of the details, yet, but the reason we’re announcing this now is so that families can start to get their paperwork together,” Cox said.

The assistance will be available for families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 after January of 2020, but, anyone asking for funding will have to prove they qualify.

“The death must have occurred within the United States and the death certificate must indicate that COVID-19 was an attributable cause of death,” he said.

In order to qualify, applicants must provide FEMA with a copy of the death certificate, a copy of funeral expenses and proof of any funds from outside sources that were used to offset those costs.

“I believe the eligibility runs up to around $9,000 at the high end, but it depends on what the expenses were and the available funding,” Cox said. “Applications will be made directly to FEMA, starting in April.”

The governor was in Spanish Fork as he and his wife, Abby, received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Cox said manufacturers are increasing the number of doses their making, so Utah should get another increase in the state’s weekly allotment.

Health officials say the number of daily COVID-19 continues to decline, although not as quickly as previously seen. However, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said the rate of positivity also continues to drop, which means the rolling seven-day average of new cases will also likely fall.