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.
For information on funeral assistance and resources for COVID-19 related deaths, see COVID-19 Resources below.
This brochure summarizes 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:
OBS can pay up to a maximum amount of $1,700 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 $3,400, the cost of the burial plot, grave opening or cremation will be deducted from the total bill. If the remaining bill amount is less than $3,400, a burial allowance will be approved.
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.
The applicant who is responsible for the funeral arrangements or his/her representative must file a burial allowance application with the Office of Burial Services within one hundred-twenty (120) days from the date of the decedent's death.
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.
There are several key documents required, which are outlined below under Supporting Documentation.
Call us at 718-557-1399 if you need a copy of the application or assistance with completing the online application.
You can also view the M-860W Burial Allowance Application form in:
View the Instructions for the Burial Allowance Application form in:
Below is a list of the general documentation needed to begin processing the burial allowance application. 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. OBS may request additional documents to determine eligibility based upon the facts and circumstances of each case.
NYC HRA Office of Burial Services
33-28 Northern Blvd. - 3rd Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101
The application can be faxed to 917-639-0476
The application can be emailed to BurialServices@hra.nyc.gov
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 718-557-1399. Please leave a message and we will return your call before the end of the next business day.
The Burial Assistance Frequently Asked Questions provides more detailed guidance about the burial assistance application process.
View the Burial Assistance Frequently Asked Questions in:
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 2021, management of Hart Island was transferred from the NYC Department of Correction to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the NYC Department of Social Services. The City is committed to ensuring that the public has access to the island and has several services available to help individuals find and visit their loved ones on Hart Island. Please visit Hart Island Website for more information on visiting the island and finding a loved one. Families seeking to bury their indigent loved ones on Hart Island should contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer Outreach Unit at (212) 447-2030 for information and assistance.
Applicants for Burial Assistance should know that surviving children of decedents may be eligible for Survivors Benefits from the Social Security Administration under certain circumstances. The Social Security Administration may provide Survivors Benefits based upon the decedent’s work history to decedent’s unmarried children. Visit Survivors Benefits | SSA to learn more about these benefits and how to apply.