UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 1,054 people have died of Covid-19 in Herkimer, Oneida, and Otsego counties. If this was someone you know, FEMA may cover up to $9,000 in funeral assistance for your loved ones.

“People have definitely been taking advantage of the program,” said Julie Blanciak, Individual Assistance Branch Chief for FEMA Region II. “For New York and New York City combined we’re over $200 million.”

And for the foreseeable future, FEMA will provide this assistance, granted your situation meets the necessary requirements.

“There actually aren’t a lot of requirements, but they are very important,” said Blanciak. “They are required to provide a death certificate that attributes Covid as a cause or an underlying cause, and it must have occurred in the United States.”

A detailed list can be found on the FEMA website, but another requirement is that the death must have occurred on or after January 20, 2020.

It is also necessary to report if your family has already received other funeral assistance.

And although some may argue that Covid is on its way out, those who have tested positive in the past might face long-term consequences – leaving many to wonder if this assistance will be available in the future.

“For now, there is no end date to apply for funeral assistance, it is funding that has to be renewed every year,” said Blanciak. “So, for the time being, we don’t have a specific time that is the cutoff.”

Applications can only be made via telephone at 844-684-6333, and multilingual services are available.