COVID-bereavement program running out of money as Guam records 75 deaths so far

Department of Administration director Edward Birn (PNC file photo)

The COVID-19 Bereavement Fund has, unfortunately, been getting more interest than expected.

As a result, more money has been set aside for the program.

The Bereavement Fund originally had a $750,000 budget.

According to Department of Administration director Edward Birn, another $250,000 was added because it was close to running out of money to make payments.

The program pays out $10,000 to families for each person who has passed away due to COVID.

The program was opened up to the public two weeks ago.

Since then, Birn said they have received 43 applications and 28 have been approved.

Ten are under review and 5 more were received but with incomplete documentation.

As of yesterday, 75 people on Guam have passed away from the disease.

The additional money for the Bereavement Fund was taken from the CARES Act, specifically from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Although some COVID-relief programs have become rife with attempts at fraud, Birn said that hasn’t been the case so far with the Bereavement Fund.

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“Unfortunately with this program, it’s a fairly definitive issue. There is a daily report from JIC of the people who have unfortunately succumbed to this disease. So in this particular’s really hard to present a claim that might be considered fraudulent,” Birn said.

Claim affidavits and instructions can be downloaded from the DOA website.

You can also get them from the Benefits Section of the DOA office at the ITC Building.