On Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of New York, said the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) will reimburse low-income families for-related funeral and burial costs.
The measure was part of the, which also has a of up to $ 600. The bill includes $ 2 billion for people who are victims of the and may have incurred debts to pay for the funeral and burial of their loved ones. That funding has now been approved, and FEMA is in the process of setting up the program to compensate families in need, lawmakers said.
Here’s everything we know about the funeral compensation funds so far, including who is eligible and how to apply.
Who can be reimbursed for COVID-19 related funeral expenses?
We do not yet know exactly who will be eligible to receive these funds, or whether it will be based solely on income level or some other set of factors.
“If you’re a family that couldn’t afford it or just had to stretch out, with no rent or no food or anything else, so you could give your loved one a decent burial and burial, FEMA can reimburse you up to $ 7,000. Schumer said on Monday at a press event.
Funding will be available for funeral expenses incurred between January 20, 2020 and December 31, 2020, but not for funerals that took place in 2021, a FEMA spokesperson told CNET. Schumer estimated that more than $ 200 million of that funding will go to New York, particularly epicenters of the virus such as Corona, Queens.
How much money will you be reimbursed?
Under the bill, FEMA will reimburse families up to $ 7,000 in COVID-related funeral and burial costs. It is not yet clear which factors determine who can receive all or part of the available money.
In 2019, the median national cost of a viewing funeral and burial was $ 7,640, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. If a vault or chest is included (which is often required for a cemetery), the median cost rose to $ 9,135. The cost doesn’t take into account costs for cemeteries, monuments, or headstones, or various cash advances, such as for flowers or an obituary, the NFDA noted.
When and How Can You Apply for COVID-19 Funeral Allowances?
The details are still being worked out, but Schumer and Ocasio-Cortez said FEMA is setting up a hotline to provide information to people seeking a refund. In the meantime, they recommend that families gather documentation about funeral expenses, such as billing information from the morgue, cemetery, or other services.
“FEMA is rapidly finalizing an implementation plan and interim policy to support the provision of funeral support to eligible citizens,” a FEMA spokesperson told CNET in an email. To help manage the program, FEMA is hiring contract support through the federal acquisition process to help manage the program. The contract is open for proposals until February 8. Once a contract is awarded, FEMA will make an announcement to be accepted later this year. “
It is likely that this process may take a while to resolve.
What kind of information should you request?
Again, we still don’t know all the details, but it is likely that you will need documentation of funeral expenses such as bills or billing information from the mortuary, crematorium, or cemetery to provide to FEMA to cover some or all of those costs.
You will likely also need an original copy of an official death certificate. You can get one by contacting the state or county vital records office. Sometimes a funeral home or a third party can also request this for you.
You can probably contact the companies you worked with to get an invoice if you didn’t keep one initially. If you’ve done much of the preparation yourself, you’ll need to collect receipts or bank statements. We recommend that you keep these in one organized place for when you need them.
Has FEMA ever done anything like this before?
Yes. Under the Stafford Act, FEMA can provide assistance with funeral expenses if the deaths were caused by a disaster declared by the president. This was the case after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. After three hurricanes hit Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico in 2017, FEMA paid about $ 2.6 million in response to 976 approved applications for related funeral expenses, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic is a much larger scale for help than anything FEMA has provided in the past, a spokesman told CBS. The agency has already contributed more than $ 56.2 billion to the fight against the pandemic, the spokesman said.
“We understand the financial and emotional turmoil COVID-19 has brought to our country, and we are committed to providing funeral aid to the American people as soon as possible,” said a FEMA spokesman. “We are working on streamlining the implementation of this program to make it easier for people who have lost loved ones to request and receive help. It will take some time to develop the right process and tools to make this program easier. make everyone easy, efficient and effective. ”
For more information, read what we know about auntil now, and .