U.S. President Biden’s administration will launch a large-scale funeral assistance program for the victims of COVID-19 in the United States. The plan will be launched next week, and the U.S. government will provide up to $9,000 (about 58,868 yuan) for funeral expenses for each American COVID-19 victim.
According to the Washington Post on April 7, this is the largest such plan ever provided by the federal government. According to the plan, regardless of the income of a family, as long as it can produce supporting documents and does not receive similar welfare subsidies in other projects, the family can be supported by the funeral assistance program.
FEMA requires that the person claiming funeral subsidy must be “a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen U.S. national, or a qualified alien” and “paid funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.” At the same time, applicants must provide a certificate of the deceased’s death and prove that the deceased’s death is “exactly or likely to be related to COVID-19”.
According to the statistics of the website of Johns Hopkins University in the United States, as of April 6, there were 556,528 cumulative COVID-19 deaths in the United States. The Washington Post said that about 557,000 people died of COVID-19, which means that the scale of the upcoming funeral assistance program is unprecedented. The report pointed out that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has also “reimbursed” funeral expenses for people, but has never provided such a large amount of subsidies to so many individuals. Previously, in 2017, FEMA paid $2.6 million in funeral expenses for 976 of the three hurricanes that year, with an average of $2,664 per applicant.
However, it is unclear how many people are eligible and the final cost of the funeral assistance program. According to the report, it may cost billions of dollars.
“While we cannot change what has happened, we reiterate our commitment to many families to cope with funeral and funeral expenses they did not expect.”
It is reported that the funeral assistance plan was delayed last year when the economic crisis in the United States was serious. Last year, then-President Trump signed a nearly $1 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief bill in the last few weeks of his term. Although the details are unclear, the maximum amount of individual funeral assistance subsidies at that time was set at $7,000, and the total budget of the funeral assistance program was $2 billion.
Biden signed a $190 million bailout bill in March after taking office this year, which expanded the budget of the funeral assistance program.