You are reading

More Than 15,500 New Yorkers Have Received COVID-19 Funeral Aid

Stock image (Photo by Mayron Oliveira on Unsplash)

Oct. 7, 2021 By Allie Griffin

More than 15,500 New Yorkers have received a total of $107 million to help bury their loved ones who died of COVID-19.

The recipients were able to tap into the funds from the federal COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program, which recently expanded eligibility after facing pressure from two local legislators. The expansion allowed 1,600 additional people to receive funds.

The FEMA program helps families pay, or be reimbursed, for the funeral expenses of their loved ones who died of the coronavirus.

However, many people who lost family members early into the pandemic were unable to access the funds because the program required that the deceased’s death certificate list COVID-19 as the cause of death.

Early in the pandemic, hospitals had limited COVID-19 testing and knowledge of the virus’ varied presentations — which meant the official cause of death was not always listed as the coronavirus despite its probability.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announcing the program last year (Photo: @SenSchumer)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Chuck Schumer pushed FEMA to loosen this requirement so more people could access funeral assistance.

“From the start, we stressed to FEMA that this program needed to put accessibility first,” Ocasio-Cortez and Schumer said in a joint statement. “We cannot have families, who have already lost so much, burdened by impossible bureaucratic obstacles.”

The agency agreed.

On June 29, FEMA changed its policy to allow applicants who lost a relative between Jan. 20, 2020 and May 16, 2020 to instead provide a signed letter from the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner certifying the cause of death was likely COVID-19.

The policy change resulted in more than 1,600 New Yorkers receiving a combined $10 million in reimbursement for burial expenses. Each applicant was able to receive up to $9,000 per burial retroactively.

“We’re grateful to FEMA for working with us to make this change so that families in need could get some of the relief they need,” the legislators said.

FEMA is still accepting applications via phone at 844-684-6333.

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Construction workers rescued from trench collapse at South Ozone Park home Monday morning: FDNY

The FDNY rescued two construction workers who were injured during a trench collapse at a home in South Ozone Park Monday morning.

Multiple units, including Squad 288 from Maspeth and Engine 302 in Jamaica, began arriving on the scene minutes after receiving a call just after 11:36 a.m. of workers trapped in the collapse of a retaining wall at 133-28 150th St. Firefighters discovered the two men pinned at the knees from dirt and debris in a collapsed 20-by-40-foot section. A neighbor who witnessed the scene said other construction workers came to the aid of the two before the FDNY arrived on the scene.

John Adams HS assistant principal busted in alleged sexual abuse of 15-year-old student: NYPD

An administrator at John Adams High School in Ozone Park was arrested on campus Wednesday for allegedly stroking the inner thigh of a 15-year-old student on Monday and then showing pornographic images of himself to her the following day.

Police from the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park responded to the scene after the student reported the incident to another John Adams High School administrator. Michael Budhu, 52, was then taken into custody.

Five Queens startups win $20,000 each in 2024 Tech + Innovation Challenge

May. 19, 2024 By Czarinna Andres

A diverse range of businesses, including a yoga studio, an olive oil distributor, a female health care provider, a sustainable mushroom farmer, and an AI-powered physical therapy service, have been named winners of the 2024 Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC). Each winner will receive a $20,000 grant to support their business operations.

City hosting walking tours at the new Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways on Sunday

This Sunday, May 19, the city is conducting walking tours of the newly opened Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways to showcase the 35-acre beachfront jewel developed on a formerly vacant illegal dumping ground on Beach 44th Street in Edgemere.

The tours, hosted by the Department of City Planning (DCP), NYC Parks, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), will allow participants to explore the preserve’s diverse ecosystem. The large preserve is a component of the upcoming Arverne East housing development, which, when completed, will be one of the most environmentally conscious developments in the United States, achieving net zero and eliminating the need for fossil fuels on-site.

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.

Queens elected officials secure $70 million from New York State Budget for school safety equipment in religious and independent schools

May. 17, 2024 By Anthony Medina

Religious and independent schools throughout the city will soon receive additional funding for school safety equipment, thanks to Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Michael Gianaris, who, after extensive advocacy efforts, successfully secured $70 million from the New York State Budget for 2024-25 for Non-Public School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants.

Young man chased, punched out and robbed in Cambria Heights by gunman who remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 105th Precinct in Queens Village are looking for a gunman who chased his victim through Cambria Heights before beating and robbing him on the night of Wednesday, May 8.

A 22-year-old man was in front of a business establishment at 229-02 Linden Blvd. when he was approached by a stranger. Sensing danger, he took off running eastbound toward the Cross Island Parkway with his assailant in pursuit.