Burial Assistance

Burial Assistance

Burial Assistance and COVID-19

To address the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, DSS/HRA issued an emergency rule:

  • Increasing the burial allowance from $900 to $1,700 and increasing the cap on burial costs from $1,700 to $3,400.
  • Extending the timeframe for when you can apply to 120 days from the date of the individual's death.

Applications received on or after March 12, 2020 will be considered for the increased burial assistance allowance. All applications received will be reviewed regardless of immigration status.

New: View the Burial Assistance Frequently Asked Questions in:


FEMA Burial Services Program

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. 

As of  Monday, April 12, 2021, FEMA began accepting applications via a phone application through their dedicated call center:

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number: 
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585 
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, FEMA encourages you to keep and gather all relevant documentation. Types of information required should include:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death was attributed to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • The applicant must be U.S Citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.  There is no requirement for the deceased person to be a U.S Citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
  • FEMA can reimburse applicants for up to $9,000 in funeral expenses. To be eligible all expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) must include the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
  • Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. FEMA will not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

View the FEMA Funeral Assistance Flyer for additional information:


Please continue to visit the FEMA Funeral Assistance website for updated information and FEMA Funeral Assistance FAQ page for updated information.


NYC COVID-19 Immigrant Burial Assistance Program

NYC’s COVID-19 Immigrant Burial Assistance Program helps family members or other individuals responsible for burial costs of their loved ones who passed away from COVID-19. The program was created by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC in partnership with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and is available to any eligible individual regardless of their immigration status. Learn more

NOTE: FEMA eligible individuals are not eligible for the fund. Applicants cannot apply for both FEMA and MOIA assistance.

We are open to the public Monday-Fridays between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. If your needs cannot be met by ACCESS HRA, call 311 or consult the HRA Locations page for the latest information on center openings.

Burial Services Brochure

Image of a man at a grave with flowers

This brochure outlines how HRA’s Office of Burial Services (OBS) can provide financial assistance to help you meet the funeral expenses for a deceased low-income New York City resident. This can apply to either funeral expenses that have already been paid, or pre-approval for the cost of a planned funeral.

Open the Burial Services Outreach Brochure.

Contact the NYC HRA Office of Burial Services (OBS)

Our office is now located at:
33-28 Northern Blvd. - 3rd Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101

You can call us at:
929-252-7731

Please leave a message and an OBS staff member will return your call before the end of the next business day.

Burial Allowance Application M-860W

View the Application for Burial Allowance.

You can also view the Burial Allowance Application form in:

View the Instructions for the Burial Allowance Application form in:

Read more about the application process below.

Ways to apply

In-Person or Mail

NYC HRA Office of Burial Services
33-28 Northern Blvd. - 3rd Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101

Fax

The application can be faxed to 917-639-0476

Email

The application can be emailed to BurialServices@hra.nyc.gov

Call us at 929-252-7731 if you need a copy of the application and we will mail or email you an application. If you need assistance with completing the on-line application, give us a call.

Burial Allowance Application Process

Background

The Human Resources Administration (HRA), Office of Burial Services (OBS) assists individuals in need of financial assistance to meet funeral expenses for a deceased low-income New York City resident (decedent). Payment may be authorized to reimburse funeral expenses that have already been paid or pre-approval for payment may be authorized for the cost of a planned funeral.

What can be covered

OBS can pay up to a maximum amount of $1,700 under the current emergency rule towards the cost of a funeral bill for a decedent's final disposition (which includes burial, cremation or burying of cremation ashes) to the decedent's relative, friend, Organizational Friend or authorized representative.

In the event, the funeral bill exceeds the current $3,400 cap under the emergency rule, the cost of the burial plot, grave opening or cremation will be deducted from the total bill and where the remaining bill amount is less than the above cap a burial allowance will be approved.

Eligibility

The burial allowance is available to low income decedents that do not have resources or assets available to pay for their funeral. Proof of low-income status may include, receipt of social services benefits or public assistance from HRA such as cash assistance, supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits, or social security benefits including supplemental security income (SSI).

A legally responsible relative (a spouse or parent of a deceased minor under age twenty-one (21)) that applies for the allowance must also be unable to pay the funeral bill and meet the low-income eligibility criteria to qualify.

To determine eligibility, an application must be submitted and OBS will assess the individual circumstances of each case.

To apply

The applicant who is responsible for the funeral arrangements or his/her representative must file an application within one hundred-twenty (120) days under the emergency rule, from the date of the decedent's death with the Office of Burial Services.

The Burial Allowance application, M-860W, can be obtained by using the above link or by calling the Office of Burial Services to request an application. The application information can be directly entered on the form available on the website.

Supporting documentation

We will accept a photo or scanned image of a document via email and we may require a hard copy if the image or photo is not legible. Below is a list of the general documentation needed to begin processing the burial allowance application. OBS may request additional documents to determine eligibility based upon the facts and circumstances of each case.

  • A Burial Allowance Application Form M-860W completed and signed by the applicant or authorized representative. See application for details.
  • One original certified copy of the Death Certificate (it will be returned to the applicant).
  • A copy of the Funeral Contract also known as the Statement of Goods and Services Selected. The contract must be signed by the Funeral Director and by the person that made the funeral arrangements.
  • A copy of the cemetery or crematory bill, itemizing all charges.
  • Original itemized funeral bill signed by the Funeral Director and notarized in the presence of a Notary Public or Commissioner of Deeds. The funeral bill must be stamped "Paid-in-Full" if the charges have been paid and the applicant is seeking reimbursement.
  • Original fully completed Funeral Director's Affidavit forms signed by the Funeral Director and notarized in the presence of a Notary Public or Commissioner of Deeds, if there is money still owed to the funeral establishment. See link to Funeral Director's Affidavit.
  • Note: During the pandemic an electronic signature to be used by a person in lieu of a signature affixed by hand in executing documents and forms authorizing or accepting funeral services. NYS Governor's Executive Order 202.11 March 27, 2020.

Payments

In the case of reimbursement to an individual, to receive a payment you will need a form of identification to verify the name and address of the person receiving the payment from HRA. For payments to an Organizational Friend, funeral home or funeral services provider a W-9 will be required. OBS can assist you with requesting the W-9 information.

For additional information you can reach us at 929-252-7731. Please leave a message and we will return your call before the end of the next business day.

Hart Island Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Since 1869, Hart Island has been used as a site for public burials and is the final resting place for more than a million souls. In 2019, the New York City Council determined that HRA's Office of Burial Services will be responsible for facilitating public burials on the island, transferring responsibility solely for the burials to the Department of Social Services. Currently, administrative and operational functions on Hart Island are still managed by the New York City Department of Correction. Please visit DOC's Hart Island page for more information on visiting the island and finding a loved one. Please continue to check this page of updated information.

Read the Hart Island MOU.