US funeral assistance for COVID-19 tops $ 2 billion, more justified | News, sports, jobs
US funeral assistance for COVID-19 tops $ 2 billion, more justified |  News, sports, jobs

US funeral assistance for COVID-19 tops $ 2 billion, more justified | News, sports, jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government has provided more than $ 2 billion to help cover the funeral costs of more than 300,000 families of people who died of COVID-19, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Tuesday as it launches a new campaign to raise awareness of support for eligible families. More than 965,000 people have died in the United States from the virus.

The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program provides up to $ 9,000 per funeral and covers COVID-19-related deaths since January 20, 2020. The average amount allocated per. deaths, is $ 6,500 according to FEMA.

“FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program has helped provide over 300,000 people with critical financial relief in a time of such unexpected, unimaginable and widespread loss,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the agency launches a new paid advertising campaign in California, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas targeting areas with high rates of COVID-19 deaths but lower rates of reimbursement requests to help connect people to available help. The agency also reaches out to community groups and local media to help publicize the program.

“Our new outreach campaign is designed to reach out to families, especially across underserved communities, where the cost of a funeral can be a financial burden for a loved one,” Criswell said. “Our goal is to help families apply for assistance, as well as to submit all necessary documents for existing applications.”

To be eligible for reimbursement, death certificates for those who have died after 16 May 2020 must state that the death has been attributed to COVID-19.

For deaths that occurred during the first months of the pandemic – from 20 January to 16 May 2020 – death certificates must be accompanied by a signed statement from a doctor, forensic pathologist or the certifying officer listed on the certificate stating that: COVID-19 was the cause or contributing cause of death.

Expenditures covered by the FEMA program include funeral services, cremation and burial, as well as the cost of coffins or urns, burial sites or cremation niches, markers or tombstones, transportation or transfer of remains, priests or civil servants, and use of funeral home or staff.

The program was first signed into law in the waning days by President Donald Trump’s administration, but began accepting applications weeks into President Joe Biden’s tenure. The original bill provided $ 2 billion for funeral assistance, which had been depleted in recent days. Future funding will come from Biden’s 2021 relief bill known as the “American Rescue Plan.”

FEMA does not accept online applications for the reimbursement program. Eligible persons are advised to call the Agency’s helpline 844-684-6333 where they will be asked to submit the necessary documentation.

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