Local funeral home offers help claiming FEMA benefits

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April 24th, 2021     Business

 

United Funeral Service of New Albany submitted this article to NEMiss.News. It is about benefits that might be claimed under the recently announced Federal Emergency Management funeral expense program.

 

United Funeral Service, Inc. President, Rodney Shands, in commenting on FEMA’s newly announced Covid-19 funeral reimbursement, said they had contacted their clients who had arranged for their Covid-19 deceased loved one’s funeral, advising them of help available through the funeral home to answer any questions that they might have after visiting or calling FEMA’s website and hotline.

Shands said that the most difficult part of the pandemic from the staff’s standpoint was “hurting for those who had to forego the visitation and funeral service itself and had only a small private graveside service or a cremation.” He said that psychologist and other mental health care professionals agree that a large factor for the start of healing and recovery after losing a loved one begins at the public visitation and funeral service where friends, family and others join together to emotionally support the family and hug their necks, tell stories of how their loved one mentored or impacted them, many of which the family never really realized.  The hugs, tears and, yes, laughter of cherished memories begin the healing toward living again.

“Having to miss that leaves a void that is important to easing the pain,” Shands said. He said FEMA will include reimbursement for families who missed that critical part of the “goodbye” service and that families can still schedule memorial services now and backtrack to celebrate a life well lived and receive reimbursement and it may also include the headstone or marker as well.  He said there is no time limit to file for reimbursement and there’s time to talk to family members and see if they would like to have a memorial service now. Shands said it would also be good to wait before filing the application with FEMA so that everything can be included rather than trying to make an amendment later.  There is also the possibility of travel expenses for family traveling to be included.

Also, he said that in the event a loved one died during the pandemic and although they may have had Covid-19 earlier at some point, the certifying physician or coroner didn’t place that as a reason, either primary or underlying, and the family thinks that Covid-19 was potentially a contributing cause, they should discuss this with the physician or coroner and see if they might consider that and maybe file an amended death certificate stating such.  If this is done, the family might be reimbursed for all compensable funeral expenses up to $9,000.

Shands said that United Funeral Service will help any family schedule and arrange a memorial service, whether the family used them or not.  “We at United stand ready to serve in any way we can for those whose lives have been affected by this terrible disease.  We see our work as a grief ministry and the healing begins here.”

 

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