Mar 15, 2022 - Health

FEMA has provided $2 billion for COVID funeral assistance

Masked funeral attendees

Attendees at a funeral in Whittier, California wear face masks, Dec. 2020. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Tuesday that it has provided $2 billion in financial assistance to families of COVID-19 victims to help cover funeral expenses.

Why it matters: COVID-19 has killed more than 966,000 people in the U.S. over the course of the pandemic, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University.

The big picture: FEMA announced that it would reimburse families of coronavirus victims for funeral costs last year.

  • Since then it has provided financial support to more than 300,000 applicants seeking assistance for funeral expenses, per the press release.
  • Applicants can qualify for "up to $9,000 for each deceased individual per application, with a maximum of $35,000 for families who may have multiple funeral expenses due to COVID-19," FEMA stated in the press release, adding that the average amount of financial help provided to applicants was $6,500.
  • FEMA also noted that it is starting a media campaign to bring more awareness about the funeral assistance program to "underserved communities that have experienced a high COVID-19 death rate but have low registrations for assistance."

What they're saying: The funeral assistance program has provided people with "critical financial relief during a time of such unexpected, unimaginable and wide spread loss,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said in the press release.

  • “Our new outreach campaign is designed to reach families, especially across underserved communities, where the cost of a funeral can be a financial burden to a loved one," she added.
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