WEDNESDAY, April 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A funeral assistance program that will provide up to $9,000 to cover the burial costs of every American who died of COVID-19 will be launched next week by the Biden administration.
The program, the largest of its type ever offered by the U.S. government, is open to families regardless of their income if they can provide relevant documentation and have not already received similar benefits through another program, The Washington Post reported. As of April 12, people will be able to call a Federal Emergency Management Agency toll-free hotline — 1-844-684-6333 — to get information and apply for the program.
The number of people who will be eligible is not known and neither is the program’s cost, but it is expected to be at least several billion dollars, according to The Post. The bulk of those eligible have already paid the expenses and must produce receipts and other documentation of what was paid for caskets or urns, burial plots, headstones, funerals, and other costs detailed by FEMA. There is also a possible glitch in deciding who qualifies for the assistance: In the early weeks of the pandemic, many victims, especially those in nursing homes, were suspected of dying of COVID-19, but testing was limited. So, many death certificates did not mention COVID-19. Now, to be reimbursed, those families may need to seek out doctors or coroners to amend death certificates.
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