FEMA offering COVID-19 funeral assistance

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 2:44 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – Despite concerns surrounding the Delta variant, local funeral workers said that for now, the number of deaths in Minot and the surrounding communities has returned to normal numbers.

The team at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home in Minot said the past year has included long hours, program adjustments and consoling those who lost a loved one.

“For that first part of COVID, right people could not visit their loved ones in the nursing homes or hospital settings and so obviously at the funeral home, we were able to allow them to come in and see them that one last time,” said Funeral Director Ben Slind.

Slind said their team saw an increase in services between September 2020 and January 2021 with three out of five deaths being COVID-related.

One government agency has also been offering help to those adjusting to a loss during the pandemic.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering COVID-19 funeral assistance to families of anyone that died after Jan. 20, 2020 due to the virus.

As of September 13, more than $2 million has been awarded to more than 350 applicants in North Dakota, but FEMA representatives said that number could be higher based on the number of applicants received.

“One of the biggest hold-ups that we’re finding is that, when people do go in and put the application in, they may not have all of the information that’s needed so they’re starting to reach back and said, ‘Hey, you put in the application, but we’re still missing these documents,’” said FEMA Public Affairs Specialist Anthony Mayne.

Slind said that after adjustments such as live streaming funeral services and adding precautions handling the deceased around the nose, throat and eyes, his team will continue to serve the community and provide that final goodbye.

“When we knew we were helping families at such a difficult time and due to an untimely death, it kept you motivated to keep them going,” said Slind.

Guiding people through one of the toughest times in life.

Applications for the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance are open. Those interested can contact the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 844-684-6333 or 800-462-7585 from Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

You can find out more about the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program and its requirements online here.

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