The devastation left by COVID-19 is something many of us have never seen before, which also means receiving help on a scale that we've never seen.

According to a meeting recorded and provided by CSPAN, Federal and State emergency management officials spoke on March 16th of their response and efforts regarding COVID-19.

Data Table for Death Total and Rate per 100,000 - Texas Chart via CDC
Data Table for Death Total and Rate per 100,000 - Texas
Chart via CDC

In Texas alone, over 45,000 people have died from COVID-19 according to the CDC.

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 provides FEMA $2 billion to reimburse individuals and households for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred between Jan. 20 and Dec. 31, 2020.

When asked what steps were being taken to assist those struggling during this pandemic, Bob Fenton, the acting FEMA administrator stated, "We're about to publish an expanded policy, in addition to that, the new legislation allows us to increase funeral benefits to additional people through the next year. "

Representative Lucile Roybal-Allard then asked what specific assistance FEMA intends to provide, how it will be provided, and when it could be expected to begin.

Fenton replied with the following statement:

"We want to make sure that we do it in an empathetic way, and while we've done funeral assistance and disasters we've never done anything at this scale or scope. So the first thing we do is bring in additional resources to be able to meet the needs. The second thing we've done is a lot of listening sessions with different organizations, funeral associations and others, and then reach out to many different organizations to talk about culturally unique needs for funerals and to make sure that the policy we develop for this and how we assist covers to the greatest need those that have lost loved ones. FEMA is on track to implement and start the funeral assistance program in early April. We are currently focused on training our call center staff and finalizing our policy. We will do this through a 1-800 number versus doing an online registration. We think that, again, with empathy being the priority, we want to be able to case manage and have that human interaction as we do this and make sure that we do it in a way that supports everyone's needs. So early April is when we look to start the program."

The pandemic isn't over, and people are still dying.

Each day more and more people are finding themselves helpless and searching for answers and assistance after the death of a loved one.

Funeral costs are expensive, and can be even more overwhelming when a loved one's passing is unexpected and you're left unprepared. Funeral expense assistance is absolutely necessary at this time.

For more details please visit FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance website.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.


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