by J.D. Davidson
The federal government handed out more than twice as much money in COVID-19 funeral reimbursements to Ohioans over the past seven months than it did from the beginning of the program in 2020 until January.
As of Aug. 1, FEMA has given more than $2.7 billion to fulfill 420,000 applications for help with funeral costs for pandemic-related deaths since Jan. 20, 2020. In Ohio, 18,860 of those have shared more than $122.2 million.
Until Jan. 1, however, 8,884 Ohio applications received $57.5 million.
Ohio ranks sixth nationally in terms of the amount of money awarded. Texans ranked first, receiving $248.3 million, followed by California ($220.2 million), New York ($202.7 million), Florida ($155.8 million) and Pennsylvania ($136.6 million).
Eligibility is not driven by states or locations but based on when applications are submitted with the required documentation.
The money, which was approved under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, is available for funeral expenses related to COVID-19 incurred on or after Jan. 20, 2020.
No online applications for assistance are accepted. Applications must be mailed. Currently, there is no deadline for assistance.
FEMA awards funeral reimbursements for deaths in the United States that may have been caused by, or was likely the result of, COVID-19. The money covers funeral services, cremation, interment, transportation of up to two people to identify the deceased, transfer of remains, casket or urn, burial plot, marker or headstone, clergy, arrangement of the ceremony, use of funeral home equipment or staff, costs of producing and certifying multiple death certificates, and other expenses mandated by local or state laws.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.