The claim: Anyone working during the pandemic is eligible for hazard pay from FEMA in the form of a one-time $2,800 payment
Since the announcement of the coronavirus relief package in the spring, many Americans have anticipated a second wave of federal assistance. Although details of the second aid check remain uncertain, a viral Facebook post on Aug. 25 claims individuals working during the pandemic can look to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help.
"If you've worked any during the Covid19 pandemic, FEMA has finally authorized a ONE TIME $2800.00 check for hazard pay!" Facebook user Dave Jastrzab and others claim.
A link to apply for the assistance is provided; upon clicking, it leads to an image of a gorilla extending its middle finger.
USA TODAY reached out to Jastrzab for comment but received no response.
FEMA denies the claim
Rumors of FEMA offering hazard pay, or additional payment for duties or jobs that are potentially hazardous or involve physical discomfort and distress (which essential workers would be eligible for), began circulating in July, according to Snopes.
Though the post appears satirical, given the gorilla image linked in it, the agency released a statement Aug. 25 refuting the claim.
"CARES Act funding provided unemployment benefits for citizens during the pandemic. Additionally, since FEMA enacted the Lost Wages program in August, billions have been provided to states to assist with their unemployment claims," the statement reads. "FEMA funding allows states to provide at least an additional $300 per week to people who lost work due to COVID-19 through their unemployment insurance programs. However, no federal assistance was given in the form of hazard pay, nor has FEMA directly paid individuals."
Gabriel Lugo, a public information officer for the agency, confirmed in an email to USA TODAY that the claim of a $2,800 one-time hazard payment is untrue.
Our ruling: False
We rate this claim FALSE, because it is not supported by our research. FEMA is not providing any financial assistance equaling $2,800 as hazard pay.
Our fact-check sources:
Snopes, July 30, "Is FEMA Offering Hazard Pay Due to COVID-19?"
U.S. Department of Labor, "Hazard Pay"
Forbes, Aug. 31, "3 Messages On Essential Workers Hazard Pay That You Need To Know Now"
FEMA, Aug. 25, "Coronavirus Rumor Control"
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that FEMA offers hazard pay