(The Hill) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Tuesday announced that over $2 billion in funding has been allotted for funeral costs of about 300,000 American families that lost a loved one since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program has helped provide over 300,000 people with critical financial relief during a time of such unexpected, unimaginable and widespread loss,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said, according to The Associated Press.
Under the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program, up to $9,000 in funeral expenses are covered per person. On average, about $6,500 has been given to families per death, the agency stated, according to The AP.
The agency also reportedly announced on Tuesday that it is set to launch a paid ad campaign in four states that have had high rates of COVID-related deaths but low requests for funeral reimbursement. Those states include New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and California.
“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,” Criswell said, according to The AP. “Our goal is to help families apply for assistance, as well as submit all required documents for existing applications.”
In order for families to be eligible for assistance, they must provide death certificates that show evidence that COVID-19 was the cause of death of a loved one who died after May 16, 2020.
For situations in which the death occurred prior to that date, a signed statement from a medical examiner detailing the cause of death must be provided in addition to the death certificate, the news outlet noted.
The Hill has reached out to FEMA for comment.