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National Disaster Legal Aid

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FEMA funeral program inundated by 1 million calls at launch

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The federal government program designed to help cover funeral costs for people who have died of COVID-19 was inundated with more than 1 million calls on its launch day.

The Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA) rolled out its hotline Monday, inviting Americans to apply for up to $9,000 per funeral and up to $35,500 per applicant to help with expenses related to coronavirus deaths occurring after January 20, 2020.

"The first day we opened up, there was definitely congestion on the line," Acting FEMA Director  Bob Fenton told lawmakers on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday. "We had a couple of technical issues with the service, but cleaned that up by the second day," Fenton said. "The second day was better than the first day. And I'm sure today will be much better than yesterday."