FEMA accepting applications for program Lawson helped create in American Rescue Plan

Relatives of individuals whose deaths were caused COVID-19 can apply for up to $9,000 of assistance per funeral.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Al Lawson announced that FEMA has begun accepting applications for funeral assistance for Floridians who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Lawson helped to pass the funeral assistance program as part of the American Rescue Plan. 

Residents who paid for funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020, for an individual whose death may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19 can apply for up to $9,000 of assistance per funeral. Individuals may apply for assistance for multiple funerals. 

“While no amount of money can heal the loss of a loved one, this grant program can help ease the financial strain put on so many of our families during these already challenging times,” Lawson said.

 Applicant will have to provide the following information when they register for assistance: 

Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual, date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual, current mailing address and telephone for the applicant, location or address where the deceased individual passed away,  information about burial or funeral insurance policies, information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations, CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations, along with routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account.

Contact FEMA at 844-684-6333; TTY 800-462-7585, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Information is also available on line at https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance/faq. No online applications will be accepted.  

Lawson also announced that Floridians who receive Veterans Affairs benefits could expect Economic Impact Payments of up to $1,400 hit their bank accounts as of last  week. Many Americans have already received Economic Impact Payments as part of the American Rescue Plan that Lawson helped to pass. 

The latest round of payments applies specifically to veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments and who don’t normally file a tax return. 

“Help is here, and we want to make sure that veterans get the money that is rightfully theirs,” Lawson said.

 Most payments will be automatically deposited into banks accounts or loaded onto the Direct Express cards where veterans receive their benefits. Those waiting on paper checks or debit cards through the mail should expect to receive their payments over the next several days. 

Meanwhile, Lawson also announced that $2,473,487,137 is headed to Florida child care providers to open safely, keep workers on the payroll and lower costs for families.

“Hardworking Florida families know that safe, affordable child care is essential to getting parents back to work and growing our economy,” Lawson said.

The funding comes as part of two programs Lawson helped create through the American Rescue Plan.

The funding will go to the state, which will allocate it to specific providers and families.

 In other Congressional action, Lawson voted to pass H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, landmark legislation that will help close the gender wage gap by strengthening equal pay protections for women. The bill would create more effective remedies for women who are not being paid equal pay for equal work, including requiring employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons, new tools for the Department of Labor to enforce pay equity and protections against retaliation for workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose wages.

“It’s shameful that in the 21st century, employers can still get away with paying women less than men for doing the same job,” Lawson said. “This doesn’t just harm women in the workplace, it impacts their families, too.  A smaller paycheck means fewer groceries and more missed bills. 

“It means making families choose between changing a flat tire and visiting the doctor’s office. Our Paycheck Fairness Act modernizes and strengthens equal pay protections so that we can unleash the full power of women in the workforce.”

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