FEMA provides financial assistance for COVID-related funeral costs
ALBANY COUNTY — The company is printing another obituary this week for someone who died of COVID-19 but whose family was unaware of a federally-run program to partially cover funeral expenses.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides financial assistance for COVID-related funeral expenses incurred on or after January 20, 2020.
Those planning funerals or who have already paid for funerals for COVID-19 victims can call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance toll-free hotline at 844-684-6333, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. complete a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Application with a FEMA representative. Multilingual services are available.
Information is also available online at FEMA.gov/funeral-assistance/faq.
Individuals may receive a maximum of $9,000 per deceased person and a maximum of $35,500 per claim, if they incurred funeral expenses for multiple deceased persons.
The death certificate must attribute the death to COVID-19. If the death occurred between January 20 and May 16, 2020 and the death certificate does not attribute the death to COVID-19, the applicant may submit a signed statement from the physician who certified the death certificate or from the coroner local. or medical examiner, linking the cause of death to COVID-19
Examples of qualifying expenses may include, but are not limited to: transportation to identify the deceased, transfer of remains, burial ground or cremation niche, marker or headstone, caskets or urns, services of clergy or a celebrant, use of household equipment or staff, and cremation or burial expenses.
To be eligible for assistance, the death must have occurred in the United States and the applicant must be a United States citizen, noncitizen, or qualified alien with funeral expenses.
It is not necessary that the deceased person was a US citizen, noncitizen, or qualified alien.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused overwhelming grief to many. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are committed to helping alleviate some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus,” says FEMA websitewhich also contains videos explaining the application process.
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt featured in his daily bulletin on Monday news about Evosheld, an AstraZeneca drug administered emergency use authorization in December by the Food and Drug Administration.
The drug is supposed to be a extra layer of protection in addition to vaccination to prevent COVID-19 in immunocompromised people.
“Vaccines have proven to be the best available defense against COVID-19. However, some immunocompromised people may not develop an adequate immune response to the COVID-19 vaccination, or those who have a history of serious adverse reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine and therefore cannot receive it and need another prevention option,” Patrizia Cavazzoni, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement Dec. 8 when the clearance was announced.
Leonhardt reported that although the Biden administration purchased 1.7 million doses, many people don’t know the drug exists, whether they are eligible and how to get the shot.
He provided a link created, in the absence of official information, by an engineer whose wife has cancer. the national list shows Albany County as having four medical centers that obtained Evusheld although the last deliveries were made no later than early February:
– Albany Medical Center Hospital at 43 New Scotland Ave. is listed as having 240 assigned doses with 166 available;
– Capital Region Rx LLC at 431 New Karner Road is listed as having 24 doses allocated with 24 available;
– St. Peter’s Hospital at 315 South Manning Blvd. is listed as having 72 assigned doses with 72 available; and
— Samaritan Hospital at 600 Northern Blvd. is listed as having 72 assigned doses with 69 available.
“The confusion around Evusheld is another example of how America’s fragmented healthcare system is hurting people,” Leonhardt wrote.
With another death reported Sunday by Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, the county’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 525.
However, the number of new cases continues to decline, with McCoy reporting 62 new cases Monday morning, bringing the county’s seven-day average of daily cases down to 103.4.
The county’s seven-day average for cases per 100,000 population has fallen to 27.5 and its infection rate is 5.2%.
There have been four new hospitalizations since Sunday with 55 county residents now hospitalized with COVID-19. Seven of the hospitalized patients are in intensive care units, up from 14 on Sunday.
“The last time overall COVID hospitalizations were this low was Dec. 26,” McCoy said in the statement.
“It’s important to remember that on January 10, Albany County’s seven-day average positivity percentage peaked at about one in five people testing positive, and now we’re down to just over 5%,” McCoy continued. “As we continue to see COVID infections decline, we should also see fewer and fewer people hospitalized with the virus. I want to thank everyone for doing their part and helping us get to this point, including those who continue to get their shots and their boosters.
As of yesterday, 80.8% of all Albany County residents have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and 73.4% are now fully vaccinated.