Biden launches up to $ 5 billion program championed by AOC pledging $ 9,000 to families who lost someone from COVID to cover funeral costs
- A new program will be launched next week that will send out up to $ 9,000 to families who have lost a loved one as a result of the coroan virus to help cover funeral and burial costs.
- The program was enacted under Trump, but expanded as part of the US $ 1.9 trillion bailout plan signed by President Biden last month
- A website and hotline have been set up so Americans can start applying for help Monday
- If each death out of more than 556,000 represented an eligible applicant and they received the full aid, it could cost the US more than $ 5 billion
- Funeral support was defended by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senate Leader Chuck Schumer in Spring 2020
Joe Biden’s government is launching a program of sending up to $ 9,000 checks to cover the funeral expenses of those who have died from the coronavirus, which could cost the government $ 5 billion.
Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both representing New York, began defending the idea of helping pay for funerals in the spring of 2020 – as their state needed to create mobile morgues to accommodate the high death rate .
The program was first passed as part of the latest coronavirus relief bill that Donald Trump signed while he was president, but was further expanded last month in the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
Families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 can apply through the Federal Emergency Management Agency next week to receive financial assistance related to the costs of the funeral and burial.
A webpage and a dedicated call center has been set up to answer questions about the program and help with applications starting Monday.
Biden’s administration is launching a program next week that will send up to $ 9,000 to families who have lost a loved one as a result of the coroan virus to cover funeral and burial costs
A website and hotline have been set up so that Americans can start applying for help on Monday
If each death out of more than 556,000 represented an eligible applicant and they received the full $ 9,000 aid, the program could cost the US more than $ 5 billion
There are no income restrictions, which means that anyone can get help if they have not yet received the same benefits. However, applicants must be “ a U.S. citizen, non-civil citizen, or qualified alien ” who paid funeral expenses after January 20, 2020, according to FEMA.
The applicant must provide proof by death certificate that the death occurred in the US and “possibly caused or likely resulted from COVID-19.”
As it is still unclear how many people are eligible for benefits, the scope and ultimate cost of the program is also unknown, although it will easily add up to several billion as more than 556,000 Americans have died from it as of Wednesday coronavirus.
If every death were to be claimed and everyone eligible for the full $ 9,000 benefit, the program could get well past the $ 5 billion mark.
“While we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not expect,” Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton said in a statement.
Last spring, Schumer said people deserve to give their loved one a “ decent burial and burial, ” even when they are under financial strain due to lost jobs and other pandemic-related hardships.
Ocasio-Cortez said at the time, “The absolute least we can do is help these families bury their loved ones. It is the core, basic measure of human dignity. ‘
During the peak of the pandemic last year, funeral aid was halted as lawmakers negotiated aspects of the emergency coming through at the time.
When Trump signed the nearly $ 1 trillion stimulus package just weeks before leaving the Oval Office, it outlined the maximum benefits of $ 7,000 with a cap of $ 2 billion. Further details have never been provided or specified.
The American bailout has changed some of that.
Funeral support could more than double the previous ceiling and be allocated up to $ 2,000 more per applicant.
FEMA has had similar programs in the past to reimburse people for funeral expenses – but nowhere near as large a capacity as it does now or with such high payments.
An example is in 2017 when they paid the funeral costs of those who died in three hurricanes. The total was $ 2.6 million for 976 people, averaging $ 2,664 per applicant.