(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, the Assembly Committee on Human Services granted its stamp of approval to Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s (D-Coachella) AB 868, which would establish an Emergency Funeral Expenses Fund for the State of California.
The funeral assistance fund would reimburse low-income families for funeral expenses when the cause of death is directly related to a Governor-declared state of emergency and retroactively provide monetary assistance for COVID -19 related deaths. Significantly, Garcia’s program would extend relief to Californians regardless of documentation status, including vulnerable, heavily impacted populations left out of FEMA’s COVID-19 funeral assistance.
“This public health emergency has disproportionately impacted our most underserved areas, leaving those with the least amount of resources to bear the harshest financial and death tolls. We must do more to support grieving California families, struggling to make ends meet, and unable to come up with the money to cover funeral expenses,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.
“We cannot allow Californians to become buried in debt because their loved one’s life was cut short by this devastating pandemic. A California Emergency Funeral Expenses Fund is needed to ensure the equitable distribution of aid to our most underserved, hardest-hit areas and to provide relief to those left out of the federal assistance program.”
The proposed Emergency Funeral Expenses Fund would be administered by the Department of Social Services with provisions to ensure equitable distribution of funds to underserved regions based on the percentage of low-income individuals and will utilize local nonprofit organizations, selected by the department, to conduct the application process.
Garcia’s AB 868 will next go before the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.