By: Norman Dotson Jr./BNC Digital
The Biden administration will be launching a relief program next week, providing up to $9,000 to help families cover the funeral costs of people who died from COVID-19 in the United States.
According to The Washington Post, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has reimbursed burial costs for natural disasters. However, not to such a large amount as projected for the proposed COVID relief.
“Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate,” acting FEMA administrator Bob Fenton said in a statement.
FEMA will begin accepting applications starting April 12 through a dedicated phone line and urges people who are thinking of applying to start gathering documentation, including death certifications, receipts or contracts from funeral homes.
“FEMA will work with applicants in these situations and those who submit multiple receipts for funeral expenses when their name does not appear on the receipt,” the agency says.
The Washington Post reports that funeral aid was held up during the worst of the crisis last year until then-President Donald Trump signed a nearly $1 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill in the final weeks of his administration. Last month, when President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan it expanded the program.
“The funeral aid — even if it doubles from the $2 billion in the measure signed by Trump — is still a tiny fraction of the $1.9 trillion covid relief bill, which was opposed by all but a handful of congressional Republicans,” the report read.
FEMA has already set up the website for all those seeking funeral aid, and applicants must be “a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national, or qualified alien” who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020, and must show a death certificate that states that the death occurred in the United States