NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Starting today the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) opened a hotline for families who have lost family and loved ones due to COVID-19, but the system was quickly overwhelmed.

On April 12 the agency launched a hotline to apply for up to $9,000 in assistance for funeral expenses, but people in Texas and around the country were having trouble reaching the agency.

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Just after the lunch hour FEMA tweeted, “We’re aware applicants are having difficulty reaching our representatives for Funeral Assistance. We’re working to solve the technical issues caused by high number of calls. There’s no deadline to apply & we ensure every applicant is able to open a case.”

FEMA has aided families with disaster-related burial costs in the past, but the COVID-19 effort is the largest of its type. Some $2 billion was allocated to FEMA through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Act of 2021 to reimburse individuals and households for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred between January 20 and December 2020, while the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion package last month bolstered it by providing the agency with an additional $50 billion.

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There’s been no word when or if FEMA would bring in more representatives to deal with the influx of applicants. Staff