WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of American families have been forced to grieve through the pandemic. Does the government have plans to step in to help with funeral costs?
Is FEMA paying funeral expenses for people who died from COVID-19?
There is a plan to pay for funerals and reimburse funerals that already took place.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Elizabeth Zimmerman, the former FEMA associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery.
“FEMA, through their individual assistance program has the ability to pay for funeral expenses,” Elizabeth Zimmerman said.
According to Zimmerman, FEMA can pay for funerals after a president declares a disaster.
“Typically, funeral expenses are covered on a cost-share basis,” she said. “So, FEMA would pay 75%, and the states would be responsible for 25%.”
Former President Trump already declared the pandemic a disaster in 2020. But it wasn’t until this week, Congress gave FEMA $2 billion to pay for funerals.
“This new policy, and the authorities that Congress gave to FEMA, in order to pay 100% of the cost for the funeral expenses,” she said.
As a result, FEMA will pay up to $9,000 for funeral expenses per deceased individual. This includes families that already buried loved ones in 2020. They can get reimbursed.
The program will start next month.
“Basically, a claim will have a death certificate,” Zimmerman said. “The death certificate must say that cause caused by or related to COVID.
What if the $2 billion runs out?
Zimmerman said Congress set aside $50 billion to replenish FEMA’s disaster accounts. The agency would then tap into that.