SECTION 1. For the purposes of this act, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-
“Fund”, the COVID-19 Essential Worker Burial Assistance Fund established in section 2.
“Gateway municipalities”, as defined by section 3A of chapter 23A of the General Laws.
“Low-income families”, households whose income does not exceed 200 per cent of the federal poverty level.
“Low-wage essential workforce member”, an individual who is employed in a COVID-19 essential workforce earning an hourly wage of not more than $15 per hour for their employment in said essential workforces.
SECTION 2. (a) There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the COVID-19 Essential Worker Burial Assistance Fund to be administered by the executive office of health and human services.
(b) The purpose of the fund shall be to provide financial assistance in the form of grants to low-income families, low-wage essential workforce members and residents of gateway municipalities to defray postmortem expenses related to deaths due to COVID-19. Each grant provided to an individual shall be in an amount that is not less than $1,500; provided, that the funds shall be used to mitigate or offset funeral, burial, cremation or other postmortem expenses resulting from death due to COVID-19.
(c) There shall be credited to the fund all amounts that are, by law, transferred or authorized to be transferred thereto or directed to be deposited therein, and all amounts received as gifts, grants, or contributions for the purposes of the fund. Amounts credited to the fund shall not be subject to further appropriation and any money remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund.
(d) The executive office of health and human services shall promulgate regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of this act, including, but not limited to, regulations pertaining to grant application and disbursement procedures.
SECTION 3. On the effective date of this act, the comptroller shall transfer $5,000,000 from the General Fund to the COVID-19 Essential Worker Burial Assistance Fund for the purposes of carrying out this act.
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