Free Cremation Through State Funeral Assistance In New York

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). You will need to pay for the cremation in advance before you can apply for reimbursement from the state.

What’s Covered

OBS can pay up to a maximum amount of $1,700 under the current COVID-19 emergency rule towards the cost of a cremation or the burying of cremated remains (cremains).


The burial allowance is available to low-income decedents and their Next-of-Kin. Proof of low-income status may include social services benefits or public assistance from HRA such as:
  • Cash assistance
  • Supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits
  • Social security benefits, including supplemental security income (SSI).

A legally responsible relative (a spouse or parent of a deceased minor under age 21) who 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 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, is available online or by calling the Office of Burial Services at 929-252-7731.

Upon completion, the application can be faxed to 917-639-0476 or emailed to [email protected].

If you learn your application has been approved by the state, notify the Cremstar funeral director immediately at 212-634-9195.

For more information on funeral assistance, visit the Human Resources Administration (HRA) website.

Supporting documentation

The Human Resources Administration will accept a photo or scanned image of a document via email but 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.

What You Need to Manage:
What Cremstar Can Manage for You (once your M-860W application has been approved):
  • One original certified copy of the Death Certificate. (NOTE: The complimentary copy Cremstar provides each customer will be returned to you once this process is completed.)
  • A copy of the Funeral Contract, also known as the Statement of Goods and Services Selected, signed by the Cremstar of New York Funeral Director
  • Original itemized funeral bill stamped "Paid-in-Full" signed by the Funeral Director and notarized in the presence of a Notary Public or Commissioner of Deeds.

(NOTE: 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.)