Woman called the FEMA hotline 176 times in one day before someone picked up

Mother with her daughter
Posted at 12:53 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 12:59:47-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Applications opened this week for people to apply for FEMA relief that will help with funeral costs incurred by the pandemic. But applying for that funding has proved to be a challenge for some Virginians.

Joe'ii Chancellor called the FEMA hotline 176 times in one day this week, unable to get through.

Each time, she heard the frustrating chime that her call would not go through.

Chancellor was hoping to apply for the $9,000 in federal dollars FEMA was offering to help cover her father's funeral costs.

Unable to get through Monday and Tuesday, Chancellor reached out to the Problem Solvers.

When she attempted to reach FEMA on Wednesday, she finally got through.

The voice of a human agent was like music to her ears.

"First, I want to thank you for taking my call. I called 176 times the first day," Chancellor said to the agent while on a Zoom call with the Problem Solvers. "It's refreshing and rewarding at the same time because I was getting a little frustrated."

Chancellor was not the only person struggling to apply. A FEMA spokesperson said the hotline was receiving a lot of call which created technical issues.

The spokesperson urged people to continue trying to get through and emphasized there is no deadline to apply for the funding.

According to FEMA, those who fall under these categories will be eligible for the assistance:

1. The death must have occurred in the United States or in a U.S. territory

2. The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19

3. The funeral expenses must have come after January 20th, 2020

4. There is no requirement that the deceased person be a U.S. citizen

To apply for assistance, call FEMA’s dedicated hotline at 844-684-6333.