FEMA still taking applications for COVID funeral reimbursement
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Households in American Samoa continue to apply through the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for assistance with COVID-19 related funeral costs, however no local applications have yet been approved and no awards have been made.
By the beginning of the week of June 28th, “less than 10” applicants have applied for funeral assistance, according to the latest public data by FEMA.
No other public information is available on the applicants from American Samoa, while nationally FEMA reports it has provided more than $447 million to 66,800 people to assist with COVID-19 related funeral costs for deaths occurring on or after Jan. 20, 2020.
FEMA says eligibility determinations are not driven by state/location; instead, they are based on when the applicant submits all required documentation.
FEMA had previously stated that once someone has applied for assistance, they have six months to return requested information to help process the claim. Once applicants have supplied all documentation, a FEMA case worker reviews it, and an eligibility determination is made in less than 25 days.
One person who completed the intake a month ago was told she would be contacted by mail with the list of documents required for submission and the various ways the documents may be submitted.
The woman told Samoa News she is still waiting for the FEMA instruction letter for submitting the needed documents and this is only the first step in the approval process.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
Applicants may apply by calling 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.