SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- When someone goes into the hospital with the coronavirus, it is heartbreaking. If they die, the pain is unimaginable.
Mona Carter lost a close family member. "She was off and on the breathing treatment... then that was it... it happened so fast," she says.
With so much pain, many find it difficult to talk about the financial side of this suffering, but it is there and it is important. The cost of a funeral nationwide is just shy of $8,000. That is a lot of money and can really hurt families, many of whom were caught off-guard.
RELATED: FEMA overwhelmed by calls on 1st day to apply for COVID funeral assistance
Well, now there is help from the federal government. Serious help.
Funeral expert Ed Michael Reggie says, "Anyone who has lost a loved one from January of 2020 can get reimbursed, if they are the ones who paid for the funeral, up to $9,000.00 for the funeral."
Reggie is CEO of Funeralocity.com, a website that compares funeral services and costs. He says this FEMA money can cover the cost of most funerals and has few restrictions.
RELATED: FEMA accepting applications for up to $9K for COVID-19 funeral expenses
"The national average is about $7,800 for that," he says, "and the Bay Area isn't much different than that."
He tells 7 On Your Side, "There is no minimum income, maximum income. Every American is eligible for it and a deceased does not even have to have been an American citizen."
Not all of those being reimbursed for funeral expenses must be US citizens either. The rules can get tricky and the federal government is concerned with potential fraud, so the only way to apply is by telephone at 844-684-6333 (open hours Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time). There are no online applications.
For more information on FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program, click here.
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