The United States has suffered loss of every kind throughout the pandemic. Over 550,000 people died after contracting the virus and, according to Pew Research, 25 percent of adults surveyed had someone in their household lose their job or lose income during the COVID-19 emergency.
The financial impact of the pandemic has placed additional burdens on families attempting to mourn dead family members but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced a source of some relief.
As a part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law earlier in March, families will be able to receive $7,000 for COVID-19-related funeral costs.
Families with lost loved ones will be able to apply for assistance starting in April.
FEMA will distribute a total of $2 billion in assistance to families whose loved ones anytime after January 20, 2020.
“We are working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways we can best provide this assistance and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities,” said the announcement. “Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.”
For now, the guidelines are as follows:
- Funeral expenses must have been incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.
- The death must have occurred in the U.S.
- The death certificate must say that the cause of death was COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national or legal immigrant of the U.S., but the deceased does not need a specific legal status.