Nursing instructor Joy Hargraves LVN (right) administers a COVID-19 vaccine to San Marcos Academy Boarding Director Stephanie Ramirez (left), Friday, March 11, 2021, at San Marcos High School.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing several resources including financial funeral assistance, emergency broadband service and a crisis hotline to assist with COVID-19 impact. 

Financial assistance will be provided toward COVID-19-related funeral expenses that occurred after Jan. 20, 2020. Funding is provided by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 

U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals and qualified aliens are eligible to apply for funeral funding. It is not required for the deceased to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien to be eligible for funding.

The deceased's death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19 and the death must have occurred in the U.S. including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

Those interested in receiving FEMA COVID-19 funeral assistance can call 844-684-6333 or 800-462-7585 for the TTY line for those visually or hearing impaired. Phone lines are available Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST. Answers to frequently asked questions are available on the FEMA funeral assistance website.

Additional COVID-19 resources include the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program dedicated to assisting families who cannot afford internet access during COVID-19.

The program seeks to provide a maximum discount of $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands.

Eligible households may also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. The Emergency Broadband Benefit only provides one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Households are eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit if a member in the household:

  • Has an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline.
  • Is eligible for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-20 or 2020-21 school year.
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020, and the household received a total income at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers in 2020. 
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Applications for the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available online and through local participating internet providers. Those interested may also call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application. For more information, visit the Emergency Broadband Benefit webpage

The Disaster Distress Helpline is also available for those impacted by COVID-19 or a disaster such as tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires. The helpline aims to assist individuals who experience disaster related stress, anxiety or other depression-like symptoms. 

Individuals may call or text the helpline at 1-800-985-5990. The helpline is available 24 hours a day year round. 

Spanish-speakers can call the hotline and press “2” for bilingual support. Callers can also connect with counselors in more than 100 other languages.

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