After a local family lost their father to COVID they were thrilled to find a program to help reimburse them for his funeral expenses. But when the case was flagged as possible fraud, they called Solve It 7.

Joanne O’Brien’s dad was her hero.

“He was just really special,” Joanne says.

Louis Crescentini was a World War Two veteran and a Somerville firefighter for 40 years.

“He loved his job. He loved his work,” Joanne says.

In 2020, Louis passed away.

“He was diagnosed with COVID and he never left the hospital. It was just awful because you know, you’re not able to go in and hold his hand. It was just horrible,” Joanne says.

Devastated, Joanne and her siblings paid for a beautiful funeral – including driving their dad’s hearse through Teele Square where firefighters saluted him.

Joanne later learned the Federal Emergency Management Agency was reimbursing families up to $9,000 for funeral expenses if a loved one died from COVID.

“I thought it was wonderful,” Joanne says.

Joanne applied and was approved. But she never got the check because it was sent to the wrong address.

“The ‘mail to’ address for the check was not my home address. It was the address of the hospital that he passed away in,” Joanne says.

Joanne says she sent FEMA a picture of her driver’s license as requested. She also called 10 times but couldn’t get the problem resolved

​So she dialed up Solve It 7.

“It was the next day that you responded,” Joanne says.

FEMA says Joanne’s case was flagged as possible fraud when the agency got a call from someone saying they had mistakenly received a check for funeral assistance.

One week after our call Joanne got this check for $9,000.

“I was really awestruck. I was so happy. It just it really helps to just close it because I know my dad the way he was, he would have chased this down, you know,” Joanne says.

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