NFDA received a report this week of funeral homes receiving an email from the “Funeral Homes Network” and IPG Law Group offering a $1,000 “referral fee” to funeral directors who refer families that experienced the death of a loved one due to COVID-19 treatments or vaccine.
This has been causing some confusion, and NFDA wishes to clarify: the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) referred to in this email has nothing to do with FEMA Funeral Assistance. It is a separate government program.
FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, which is available to any individual who paid for funeral services for someone who died of the coronavirus, does not require an attorney to apply. NFDA encourages funeral professionals to continue educating their communities about FEMA Funeral Assistance; families can begin an application with a simple phone call.
Find more information about FEMA Funeral Assistance on the FEMA Funeral Assistance Page of NFDA’s COVID Information Hub at nfda.org/COVID19.
Background on CICP
The CICP was established in 2010 to pay out damages for individuals injured in sudden health crises, such as Ebola and the Anthrax scare, and provide benefits to individuals, or estates of individuals, who sustained a covered serious physical injury as the direct result of the administration or use of covered treatments or vaccines.
The lawyers are arguing that injuries or death sustained as a result of COVID treatments, such as hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, remdesivir, the use of a ventilator or BiPAP and the COVID vaccine, qualify for compensation.
While the CICP is indeed legitimate, in a recent article on BloombergLaw.com, Peter Meyers, former director of George Washington University Law School’s vaccine injury litigation clinic, said the CICP is like “a black hole.”
The article notes: “Attorneys expect that for those who have filed petitions, payouts will be few and far between. In a nearly 10-year period, less than 40 of 46 claims filed for injuries from vaccines used in other emergencies, like H1N1 and smallpox, were eligible for compensation, according to data revealed through a separate FOIA request. Federal data show 5% of filed claims have been compensated as of March 1.”
More information about CICP is available through the Health Resources and Services Administration at hrsa.gov/cicp.
This article originally appeared in the April 15, 2021, issue of the Memorial Business Journal.