With the COVID-19 crisis continuing to terrorize the world, a rumor is going viral that claims the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide a $4,800 hazard pay financial support to citizens working amid the pandemic.
FEMA hazard pay?
A message began circulating on social media platforms in July that started the rumor. It included a brief explanation and a hyperlink to how one can avail for the financial aid.
According to Snopes, while the post will give the impression that the agency is giving out $4,800 to support those suffering during the global crisis, those who clicked the link quickly realized that it was a hoax.
One of the links included in the false advertisements does not direct to the FEMA website page that talks about hazard pay. Instead, it takes users to a photograph of a gorilla that looks to be putting its middle finger up.
While the post was created and shared as a joke that aims to criticize FEMA for not giving hazard pay to workers during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a wildfire-like spread of misinformation that have surfaced due to the chaos that the coronavirus pandemic has brought.
FEMA had also added a "rumor control" page to its online page to provide some clarifications on other claims and misinformation. The page details "three easy things" that people can do to avoid becoming victim to the increasing number of false news.
The agency urges citizens to find trusted sources of information, including credible news sites and only share fact-checked information from these pages. FEMA also says to discourage other people from sharing doubtful information from unreliable sources.
The website also provides recommendations on how to find credible news sources, including official public health and safety authorities. It encourages checking with local government or emergency websites and social media accounts before sharing and believing in the news that can be found online.
Previous coronavirus financial support
In March, Congress had passed a coronavirus relief bill that provided a one-time payment of $1,200 stimulus checks to the majority of Americans that had an annual salary of less than $75,000.
Government officials have had several discussions about passing another stimulus package or set of direct payments to support the Americans who are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as reported by AP News.
Since Congress had begun debating about providing the second round of stimulus checks, multiple rumors and claims have spread through social media. The misinformation takes advantage of the devastating impact that the COVID-19 crisis created, including lockdowns and public health risks which created an unprecedented number of unemployment rates and financial difficulties.
According to AFP Fact Check, the United States Department of the Treasury is in charge of the direct payment support that helped Americans during the coronavirus crisis and not FEMA. The agency provides assistance to individuals who are seeking support for flood insurance and those who are currently living in the temporary housing units of FEMA.
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