DENVER (CBS4) – More than 560,000 Americans have died because of COVID-19. That includes 6,319 Coloradans. Families of all those people have had to bury a loved one in the middle of incredibly difficult financial times. Now the federal government is offering a way to reimburse those expenses.

(credit: CBS)

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“They all lived in the same household, my husband’s mom, Jean Chavez, my husband’s uncle Johnny Castillo, and his grandfather in Northglenn, they all got sick and passed away,” state Sen. Julie Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez has experienced the grief of losing not one, but 3 family members to COVID-19 in the last several months.

“Yet we’re in no way special, over 6,000 Colorado families are navigating this loss,” Gonzalez shared.

Some of those families have struggled to afford a way to give their loved ones a proper burial. Funeral costs can be expensive, even simple cremation may run several hundred dollars.

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“Suddenly having to navigate probate processes, court documents, the burial processes,” she said

All of that is the reason why there is now a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program through FEMA.

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“We’ve had over 50,” Kendra Briggs, Fairmount Funeral Homes President said.

Briggs has been helping to send out the message to those affected. Some are now working to get the grant.

“It was an extreme relief for them, experiencing the loss of a spouse and have to go through those expenses, and the lack of income so this was a real relief to them,” Briggs said.

Coloradan who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020 for a person whose death was caused by COVID-19 can apply for up to $9,000 assistance.

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“These funds, it won’t bring back our loved ones, nothing will,” Gonzalez added.

However, she hopes, it can help ease some of the financial burden for families during this difficult time.

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LINK: FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance