AOC Scores Major Victory for Families of COVID-19 Victims

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is finalizing a $2 billion program to cover funeral costs for the families of victims lost to the coronavirus, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) announced on Friday.

Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Her fight for funeral funding began in the spring of 2020 as COVID-19 tore through New York City, which was once the epicenter of the pandemic.

Thanks to the cooperative efforts of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Elmcor, a non-profit community service agency in Queens, AOC’s proposal was included in the latest economic relief package that was signed into law in December by former President Donald Trump.

“After our BX+Queens district became the most COVID-hit in the country, I spent much of last year working on an issue that was devastating our families: funeral costs. We finally got it done. People will soon be able to get COVID funeral costs reimbursed,” AOC tweeted.

“This effort began with Elmhurst community leaders flagging early the disparate impact of COVID cases compounded w/ the devastating economic impact of funeral expenses. We got to work right away, and partnered w/@SenSchumer to prioritize it in relief. After many months of work, in the tumult of the late Dec COVID package we were finally able to work in FEMA funeral reimbursement for everyone in the country who lost a loved one due to COVID. Current status: $2 billion has been approved, and FEMA is now setting up the program,” she continued.

“As soon as the FEMA distribution details are finalized, we’ll share with you all how to get this needed relief. Our aim is for all COVID losses to be eligible. Thank you @Elmcor, @SenSchumer, @RepBarbaraLee, and the many other partners in this process to get this done,” AOC added. “My dad passed away when I was a teen, & I had to arrange his services. The funeral expenses were part of the financial devastation, and I never wanted anyone else to experience that. There is so much left to do. As we fight on M4A & more, this was a small yet crucial victory.”


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