After a local family lost their father to COVID, they were thrilled to find a program to help them pay for his funeral expenses. But when the case was flagged as a possible fraud, they called Solve It 7.
Joanne O’Brien’s father was her hero.
“He was just very special,” says Joanne.
Louis Crescentini was a World War II veteran and a Somerville firefighter for 40 years.
“He loved his job. He loved his job,” says Joanne.
In 2020, Louis passed away.
“He was diagnosed with COVID and never left the hospital. It was just awful because you know you’re not going to be able to go in and hold his hand. It was just awful,” says Joanne.
Devastated, Joanne and her siblings paid for a beautiful funeral – including driving their father’s hearse through Teele Square where firefighters saluted him.
Joanne later learned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursed families up to $9,000 in funeral expenses when a loved one died from COVID.
“I thought it was wonderful,” says Joanne.
Joanne applied and was approved. But she never got the check because it was sent to the wrong address.
“The mailing address for the check was not my home address. It was the address of the hospital where he died,” says Joanne.
Joanne says she sent FEMA a picture of her driver’s license as requested. She also called 10 times but couldn’t solve the problem
So she dialed Solve It 7.
“You answered the next day,” says Joanne.
According to FEMA, Joanne’s case was flagged as a possible fraud when the agency received a call from someone saying they had received a funeral benefit check in error.
A week after our call, Joanne received this check for $9,000.
“I was really impressed. I was so happy. It just helps to just close it because knowing my dad for who he was, he would have followed that, you know,” Joanne says.
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