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FEMA's Funeral Assistance program

Newswatch 16 spoke with a Lackawanna County woman who applied, but is still waiting to receive the money.

ARCHBALD, Pa. — Jeanne Marion says some days are better than others since her husband Pat passed away at the age of 67 from COVID-19 in January. She can not believe it's already been six months without him.

"My life has changed. And I'm a little scared for what is going to come down the road. This will help me," said Marion.

Marion is waiting to receive money from FEMA's Funeral Assistance program. She applied as soon as FEMA announced the program earlier this year, and her funeral director Louie Rapoch has helped her every step of the way. 

"Right now, it's close to $11,000 with grave openings and masses, and everything else, and people don't have that kind of money around here," Rapoch explained, talking about funeral expenses.

Rapoch is the owner and funeral director hereat Louis J. Rapoch Funeral Home in Archbald, but he also considers himself a friend to the families he serves. He says he knows he can not change what happened, and he can not guarantee FEMA will provide the assistance, but he is still encouraging people to apply.

"This is a learning process, and where the government does or doesn't, at least they stepped up to plate and said they were going to," Rapoch explained. 

To be eligible, the death certificate must say the death was attributed to COVID-19. You will also need to provide funeral expense documents when applying. 

"I might not be eligible for the whole amount, and that's fine; anything is better than nothing," Marion said. 

Marion says this has been a long and hard process these past few months but that it will be worth it if and when she gets the assistance. 

"This is new. It's new to everybody. FEMA, it's new to them. I'm sure they have been inundated with requests that they don't know what to do with because there have been so many deaths. Nobody expected this.

To find out if you are eligible for funeral assistance from FEMA, CLICK HERE.