Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: “Funeral expenses haunted and followed my family . . . for years”

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A couple of weeks ago we brought our readers this article where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were hopeful that the COVID-19 relief bill passed in December would bring funeral re-imbursements to many who lost loved ones to the pandemic.

At that time they were hopeful that some of the $56 billion that had been allocated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would be used for the purposes of reimbursing families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 during the 2020 calendar year.

Last week, Sen. Schumer and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez held a press conference that you can see a video of and read about here announcing that they believe it is the intention of FEMA to issue up to $7000 per family with this program.  In the video Rep. Ocasio-Cortez explains that back when she was a teenager her father had passed away and the expenses from that funeral service “haunted and followed my family. . .for years.”

Another article from C-Net Personal Finance, that you can read here, explains parts of the program and how it may be implemented.  Here’s what they explain at this time:

“We don’t yet know exactly who will be eligible to receive these funds, or if it will be based solely on income level or some other set of factors. 

If you are a family who couldn’t afford or had to just stretch, went without rent or went without food or anything else so you might give your loved one a decent funeral and burial, you can get reimbursed for up to $7,000 from FEMA,” Schumer said at a press event. 

The funding will be available for funeral costs incurred between Jan. 20, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, but not for funerals that took place in 2021, a FEMA spokesperson told CNET. Schumer estimated that more than $200 million of that funding will go to New York, particularly to epicenters of the virus like Corona, Queens.”

The C-Net article says that details are still being worked out.  The article notes that FEMA has sent out an e-mail with the following explanation:

FEMA is working quickly to finalize an implementation plan and interim policy to support the delivery of funeral assistance to eligible citizens.  To help administer the program, FEMA is hiring contract support through the federal acquisitions process to help administer the program. The contract is (was) open for proposals until Feb. 8. After a contract is awarded, FEMA will make an announcement later this year when applications are being accepted.”

Again, according to the article in C-Net, this type of funeral reimbursement has been done on lesser scale in 2005, 2012, and 2017 following Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and the three hurricanes that hit Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico in 2017.

Related article:  How some families could receive financial help to pay for COVID-19 funerals.   11 Alive (GA)

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