Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April.

FEMA is currently working with stakeholder groups to gather input on ways assistance can be provided and for outreach to families and communities. 

Those who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and collect documentation until additional guidance is finalized and released to potential applicants and community partners.

To qualify, the following must be met:

• The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

• The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.

• The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.

• There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

Applications will be accepted in April. FEMA does advise collecting and keeping all documentation, which includes the following:

• An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

• Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) which includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.

* Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

If you are eligible for funeral assistance, the applicant will receive a check by mail or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option is chosen when the application is submitted. For more information, visit, fema.gov.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

As of Thursday, March 25, the age to receive the COVID-19 vaccine was lowered to 16.

The vaccine rollout has seen nearly 75 percent of the state’s residents, ages 65 and older, have at least received the first dose, however, the southern part of the state is still showing resistance to the vaccine. Governor Kemp has enrolled the help of Hall of Famer and Folkston native Champ Bailey to help spread the word on the importance of the vaccine. 

Those wishing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are to visit the mass vaccine site in Waycross, which is located in the parking lot of Waycross Mall. The site will pass out up to 1,000 doses a day. According to EMA/EMS Director Bruce Young, those without a way to make an appointment are able to arrive on site without having one.If you would like to schedule appointments on the new website, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine or call 1-855-473-4374