Our Advocacy Agenda

The lack of consistent, high-quality bereavement care is an invisible crisis. Evermore fights for the rights, solvency, and dignity of all bereaved individuals. Now more than ever, the nation needs to take action.

Evermore’s agenda identifies and addresses gaps in current federal programs, examines former programs that resulted in improved outcomes for bereaved people, children, and families, and expands or emulates other model social programs.

Bereavement’s long-standing absence from public policy debates and national health priorities, along with its newfound urgency, requires an exploratory approach to policy making. Our approach to policy is that it serves as the scaffolding for individual and family well-being, stability, and prosperity. Our agenda is not monolithic in its attempt to “solve” bereavement; rather, it is continual and will evolve over time, but undoubtedly, we must get started.

Policy is complicated in its conception, and its challenges multiply with execution and implementation, particularly when new factors, actors, and nuances emerge. As bereavement is gradually integrated into national priorities and agendas, new best practices will emerge as we evolve toward a holistic and systematic approach to serving children and families in the aftermath of death.

Advance Economic Security for All

1. The Social Security Administration should ensure that all bereaved children receive the Social Security benefits to which they are entitled, and yet their caregivers often do not access. 

2. Congress should reinstate and expand the Social Security student benefit program to provide postsecondary education benefits for all bereaved and orphaned children.

3. The Federal Trade Commission should regulate pricing practices among funeral providers and pass protections that require price transparency for consumers.

4. Congress should amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to include bereavement as an eligible event for job protection and offer financial incentives to employers that provide five days of paid bereavement leave to their employees.

5. Congress should give states an incentive to ease enrollment in and increase service coordination among existing federal economic, social, and health programs that buffer vulnerable children from the shock of bereavement.

Economic Security

Access to Quality Health Care

Health Care (2)

1. As it does for children in the foster care system, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should extend automatic Medicaid eligibility to all bereaved and orphaned children below the age of eighteen and offer means testing and other eligibility pathways to individuals up to the age of twenty-six.

2. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation should develop reimbursement payment structures that support and promote qualified bereavement care and bereavement care systems outside the medical-industrial complex.

3. The Health Resources and Services Administration and the Community Oriented Policing Services should institute training and support programs to prevent burnout among healthcare workers, first responders, law enforcement personnel, and others who are routinely exposed to intense death events and grief in their occupations.

4. The Health Resources and Services Administration should expand the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant program to include bereavement services for families in addition to child death reviews.

5. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality should develop evidence-based practice standards for therapeutic providers who serve as frontline bereavement responders.

Learn more about our access to health care agenda here...

Supportive Community-Based Programs

1. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality should partner with the Department of Education to optimize telehealth availability for grieving children within school settings, which are increasingly important centers of health care for school-age children.

2. The Department of Education should work with states and school districts to develop bereavement policies that support grieving and bereaved students.

3. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice should commit resources to highly affected jurisdictions, ensuring that bereavement care for historically underserved youth is a tenet of community-based programs aimed at reducing gang affiliation, criminal activities, and imprisonment.

4. The Department of Health and the Department of Justice should pilot new, evidence-based programs that nurture bereaved children, people, and families.

5. The Department of Education should add an orphanhood-specific question to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the definition should be congruent with those used by domestic and international policy institutes, organizations, and government agencies.

Community Programs (3)

Invest in Data Collection and Research

Data and Research

1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Social Security Administration should partner with state associations to collect bereavement data on grieving and bereaved individuals.

2. Congress should direct the National Institutes of Health to establish a National Center of Excellence in Bereavement Care.

3. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should expand the definitions of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and social determinants of health (SDOH) to include bereavement.

Learn more about our data collection and research agenda here...

Lack of consistent, high-quality bereavement policies, programs, and support is an invisible crisis that deserves social recognition and targeted policy interventions.

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