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Families of COVID-19 victims can apply for FEMA funeral assistance on April 12th

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Starting on Monday, April 12th, FEMA is helping to pay for funeral costs of people who have died from COVID-19. Families can apply for up $9,000. It covers COVID deaths dating back to January 20th of last year.

Teahen Funeral Home in Cedar Rapids is working with families to let them know about the application, and helping them apply. The owner, Peter Teahen says many others can benefit, too.

“A lot of times the person is younger, and they weren’t expecting them to die so soon,” said Teahen. “You have a lot of families who are unemployed, laid off because of the economy and COVID impact.”

Elizabeth Smith is one of the families Teahen is working with. She lost her husband, Austin, to COVID. They were married for more than 45 years.

“He was quiet, easygoing,” said Smith. “He doesn’t lose sleep over any arguments. He was a very peaceful person.”

She describes her husband as a man who was a lover and a protector. Austin caught COVID last year while taking care of his sick wife.

“I didn’t know it was the COVID. He didn’t know it was the COVID either,” she said.

“They offered to put him on the ventilator, he says I’m 73,” she said. “There’s no need for me to do that. I don’t want to become a problem for my family.”

He died on June 5th, 2020. Smith hopes to get approved for FEMA funeral assistance to send Austin’s ashes to his home country of Sierra Leonne.

“God has provided a way where there’s no way,” she said.

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