Federal Government Giving Billions to Assist With Funerals for Those Who Die of COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of nearly 1 million people in the United States over the past two years. The heartache and pain of their loss will endure, but the federal government is attempting to ease some of the financial burdens on the families and loved ones the deceased left behind.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced it had given more than $2 billion to eligible families to cover the expense of funerals for those who have died from COVID-19. The program has already assisted hundreds of thousands, and the agency hopes to reach even more.
In a statement, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said, “FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program has helped provide over 300,000 people with critical financial relief during a time of such unexpected, unimaginable and widespread loss.”
According to the latest data, nearly 975,000 Americans had died from the coronavirus as of the end of March. While many have received aid from the program, FEMA said many more aren’t aware of it. The agency has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the funds and help those struggling to pay unexpected funeral costs.
The FEMA paid ad campaign launched earlier this month and aims primarily to reach families hit hardest by funeral costs. Criswell said the agency hopes to reach underserved communities.
Who Is Eligible for Funeral Assistance?
FEMA has made the money available to anyone paying for a funeral for the death of a family member from COVID that occurred after Jan. 20, 2020. The family must have a death certificate certifying that the family member passed away due to COVID-19. For COVID deaths that occurred before May 20, 2020, FEMA also requires a signed certificate from a medical examiner or other expert stating that COVID-19 was the cause of death.
Those seeking reimbursement can call 844-684-6333 to get in touch with FEMA; the agency isn’t accepting online applications.
How Much Can FEMA Offer?
The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program will pay up to $9,000 for expenses. The money can be used to cover the costs of:
· Urns or caskets.
· Burial plots.
· Cremation niches.
· Headstones or markers.
· Transfer or transportation of remains.
· Funeral services.
· Use of equipment at funeral home.
· Staff at funeral home.
· Clergy or officiant at funeral.
How Much Is the Average Award?
The average award recipient for the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program has gotten $6,500.
Where Will the Campaign Run?
FEMA is putting resources into only a select group of states, including four of the five with the highest rates of death from COVID-19 in the United States. That includes Pennsylvania, where 44,152 have died of the virus since 2020. California, the state with the highest death rate at 87,496, will also be included in the campaign, along with Texas (which ranks second in deaths nationally) and New York (fourth).
In addition to running paid advertisements, FEMA will conduct outreach with local community groups and media outlets to spread the word about the program.
Losing a loved one can be confusing and devastating, and figuring out funeral costs and other logistics is the last thing you want your family to worry about at that time. Jay can help you plan for the future to ease the burden on your loved ones as much as possible. Reach out to him today.