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FEMA To Help With Funeral Expenses For Families Of LA County COVID Victims

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency will next month begin reimbursing funeral costs for Los Angeles County residents who lost family members to COVID-19.

A covered empty casket stands in a garage at the Boyd Funeral Home during a surge of Covid-19 deaths on January 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. - A corpse in the break room. Embalmed bodies in the garage. Boyd Funeral Home, a small family business in Los Angeles, is so overflowing with Covid-19 victims it has begun turning away customers for the first time in its history. "The weekend before I turned down 16 families that I couldn't do services for," said owner Candy Boyd. "It's sad. But that's pretty much how it is now." (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

The L.A. County Office of Emergency Management reported Thursday that, beginning in early April, L.A. County residents will be able to apply for financial help for such funeral expenses.

The assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and $35,500 per application since people can apply for assistance for multiple funerals.

To qualify, residents must provide a death certificate showing that the death was caused by the coronavirus. They must also provide documents, such as funeral expense receipts.

Applicants can be "U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals or qualified non-citizens."

It's unclear exactly how much money is available for the program.

RELATED: Funeral Home Workers Say They Are Overwhelmed As COVID-19 Deaths Continue To Rise

Last month, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to evaluate whether it could implement such a federal program. The $900 billion Congressional relief package passed in December set aside $2 billion in financial aid for the cost of COVID-related funerals incurred from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.

In the coming weeks, L.A. County will establish a hotline for applicants. The application window has not officially opened.

Through Wednesday, L.A. County has recorded at least 22,965 deaths from COVID-19. Back in January, there was a such a surge in COVID-19 deaths that it forced the agency which regulates air quality across the Southland to issue an emergency order lifting the limit on the number of cremations allowed.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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