Beginning in April 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be providing financial assistance for funeral expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic up to $9,000. Those who are eligible will be able to receive their assistance as a check by mail or direct deposit. Funds are limited, so applications should be submitted as soon as possible to increase eligibility. As of April 12th, 2021 the FEMA hotline is open and application appointments are taking place.
Applicants must be able to supply a variety of official documents in order to receive aid, including but not limited to a death certificate and funeral expense documents such as receipts and contracts, as well as proof of funds received from other sources that were specifically used for funeral costs. Individuals who wish to receive assistance must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or qualified aliens. The death must have occurred in the United States after January 20, 2020 and must have been attributed to the COVID-19 virus as stated by the death certificate.
Visit the FEMA website for more information.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number
Applications begin on April 12, 2021
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time
Akron, OH – The Billow Co., operating The Billow Funeral Homes & Crematory in Fairlawn and Cuyahoga Falls, and Bissler & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory in Kent, remains committed and prepared to safely care for the families it serves during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Whenever possible, The Billow Co. will continue to enable families to participate in the rituals and ceremonies that are most important to them.
A member of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the Ohio Funeral Directors Association (OFDA), and Selected Independent Funeral Homes, the company regularly receives information from the CDC, Ohio Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies about the evolution of COVID-19 in the United States. NFDA continues to lead the conversation with federal officials about the role of funeral service as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the CDC, at this time, there is no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Depending on a family’s preferences, their loved one can be safely embalmed. Families may choose either burial or cremation as usual.
“At The Billow Co., we recognize our responsibility to protect the health of those we are privileged to serve,” said Nathanael Billow, EVP & Sixth Generation Funeral Director. “We will continue to guide families, as we always have since our founding in 1875, in ways they can meaningfully and safely commemorate the life of their loved one, while adhering to the guidance issued by federal, state and local public health officials.”
Billow continued: “Our staff remains vigilant about wearing proper PPE and safety equipment, sanitizing our facilities and cleaning our chapels, while ensuring we’re all following the recommended health and safety guidance from the CDC, such as staying home when sick, washing our hands, and covering coughs and sneezes. Our company has always taken pride in our dedication to implementing industry-best safety and sanitation procedures, which keep our staff and the public safe. The CDC and our local public health officials in Summit and Portage counties have offered helpful guidance for businesses on this topic, which we continue to follow.”
As of September 15, 2020 and per Governor DeWine's orders, attendance at services is currently limited to 50% of the fire code at each funeral home location. Approximately 240 guests may attend services at the Kent location. Additionally, masks are required and we request that social distancing be followed.
In addition to maintaining proper safety and sanitary precautions, we are also exploring other offerings to help better serve the community. These offerings include, but are not limited to, allowing for extended hours of visitation at no additional cost to allow for social distancing. Additionally, we are preparing to allow for families to make all arrangements virtually or over the phone. We are working with our IT providers to explore other technologies that will allow us to provide additional comfort to families and the communities we serve.