Overview of COVID-19 Impact

Burial Assistance

T + T


Financial assistance for burials is available through the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA), as well as the Actors fund for those who qualify. The Hebrew Free Burial Association can also provide assistance.

FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Reimbursement


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide financial assistance to individuals with COVID-related funeral expenses.

Assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application per state, territory, or the District of Columbia.

Those who are eligible will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on the option chosen when applying for assistance. Currently, there is no deadline to apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.

To see what is covered, go to https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance/faq.


To be eligible for funeral assistance, the following conditions must be met:

  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or meet the federal definition for “qualified alien” who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
    • The citizenship status of the deceased person is not taken into consideration.
  • The death must have occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • No other applicant received Funeral Assistance funds for the same decedent.


Telephone Application

Applications are being accepted through a dedicated COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line at 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The line is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Multilingual services are available.

The call may take about 20 minutes unless the applicant has additional questions. No online applications will be accepted. An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.

The applicant responsible for COVID-19 funeral expenses will need to provide the following information below when they call FEMA to register for assistance.

  • Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Date of birth for the applicant and the deceased individual
  • Current mailing address for the applicant
  • Current telephone number for the applicant
  • Location or address where the deceased individual passed away
  • Information about burial or funeral insurance policies
  • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations
  • CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations
  • Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit, if requested)

Funeral homes are not eligible to apply on behalf of a family or to be a co-applicant on the Funeral Assistance application. The person applying must be an individual, not a business, who incurred the funeral expenses.

Application Number

Those who have spoken to a FEMA representative, and completed their telephone application, will be given an application number. The application number is needed to provide supporting documentation to FEMA by either:

  • Uploading the documents to the DisasterAssistance.gov site, or
  • Faxing documents: 855-261-3452 (please include the application number on the copy of the documents being sent), or
  • Mailing documents: P.O. BOX 10001, Hyattsville, MD 20782.

For additional information, go to https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance/faq.


FEMA is warning everyone that there are scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance. FEMA will not contact anyone until they have called FEMA or have applied for assistance.

Those who have receive an unsolicited telephone call or email, do not disclose information such as name, birth date, or social security number of any deceased family member or other individual. If you doubt that a person claiming to be a FEMA representative is legitimate, hang up and call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 to report suspected fraud.

NYC Human Resources Administration’s (HRA) Burial Assistance


Burial assistance to meet funeral expenses for a deceased low-income New York City resident may be available from the NYC Human Resources Administration Office of Burial Assistance (OBA). HRA has issued an emergency rule increasing the burial allowance from $900 to $1,700.

In addition, the burial cap has increased to $3,400. If the funeral bill exceeds the $3,400 cap, the cost of the burial plot, grave opening or cremation will be deducted from the total bill and when the remaining bill is less than $1,700 a burial allowance will be approved.

The time in which a relative, friend or organizational friend of the decedent can file an application for a Burial Allowance Application Form M-860W within 120 days from the date of death.

OBS requires the following:

  • A Burial Allowance Application form M-860W completed and signed
  • One original certified copy of the Death Certificate (which will be returned to the applicant)
  • A copy of the funeral contract, signed by the Funeral Director and the person who made the funeral arrangements.
  • A copy of the cemetery or crematory bill
  • The original itemized funeral bill signed by the Funeral Director and notarized; the bill must be stamped “paid-in-full” if the charges have been paid and the applicant is seeking reimbursement.

During the pandemic an electronic signature can be used by a person in lieu of a signature.

For additional information, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/burial-assistance.page or call 929-252-7731.


To be eligible, the low-income decedent must not have resources or assets available to pay for their funeral and the legally responsible relative who applies for the allowance must also be unable to pay the funeral bill. There is no immigration criteria.


The application for burial expenses, including the above documentation, must be filed in person within 120 days of death by the legally responsible relative or other individual who authorized the funeral. Application may be made by e-mail, by fax or in person at the:

NYC HRA Office of Burial Services
32-28 Northern Blvd., 3rd Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101
Phone: 929-7731

Fax: 917-639-0476

E-Mail: BurialServices@hra.nyc.gov

For an application, visit: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hra/downloads/pdf/benefits/burial_claim_app_en.pdf.


Center for Independence of the Disabled

Can assist with the application process and needed documentation.

NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection

Fact sheet on funeral planning during COVID-19. To access the fact sheet in other languages, click here.

NYC COVID-19 Immigrant Burial Assistance Program

The NYC COVID-19 Immigrant Burial Assistance Program provides financial assistance to family members and other individuals responsible for burial costs of their loved ones who have passed away from COVID-19 and who are not eligible for any other federal or State burial assistance benefit.

The program was established through a partnership between the NYC Mayor’s Fund to Advance NY and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). Selected community-based organization will administer the program.

The program is available to any eligible individual regardless of immigration status.

For more information or to be connected to a CBO partner, New Yorkers can call the MOIA hotline at 212-788-7654.

Actors Fund – Burial Assistance


The Actors Fund provides financial assistance with the cost of funerals and provide a gravesite with a headstone to those in need. In addition, The Fund offers pre-paid arrangements for those interested in purchasing a gravesite.


To receive financial assistance toward the cost of a funeral and application, documentation of earnings and cost of the funeral is required. In general, eligibility for financial assistance is based on:

  • A minimum of five years of entertainment industry paid employment, with earnings of at least $6,500 for three out of the last five years, or
  • Twenty years of industry paid employment with a minimum of ten years of earnings of at least $2,000 for each of those years, and
  • Financial need.


To apply call 212-221-7300, ext. 119 or send an email to intakeny@actorsfund.org .

For more information go to https://actorsfund.org/services-and-programs/funeral-burial-assistance.

Hebrew Free Burial Association

The Hebrew Free Burial Association provides removal of the deceased from his or her current location, preparation of the body, transportation of the deceased to the cemetery for burial, and coordination with the necessary government agencies.

For more information, visit https://www.hebrewfreeburial.org.