COVID-19 Burial Assistance Program

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City encourages individuals, business leaders and community partners to donate to the Burial Assistance Fund, an innovative fund that honors the need for low-income New Yorkers to have access to a dignified funeral in this time of crisis.

Numerous reports have highlighted the racial and ethnic disparities in infection and death from COVID-19. For the families and loved ones of those who have been affected by COVID-19, being able to grieve in accordance with their religion, culture, tradition, and customs, including holding a funeral and burial or cremation, can provide some solace in this deeply tragic time. However, for many people, the unprecedented economic crisis and the resulting financial constraints made it increasingly difficult for them to grieve in customary ways.

Through the Burial Allowance program, the City of New York via the Human Resources Administration (HRA), with support from New York State, provides some assistance for those who cannot afford funeral costs. In these unprecedented times, HRA has taken unprecedented steps to ensure as many New Yorkers can access financial assistance for burials as possible: increasing the value of this allowance, enabling more families to apply for the allowance, and ensuring all New Yorkers can apply for financial assistance, regardless of immigration status.

To that end, in May 2020, with an initial commitment of $500,000 towards a $1.5 million goal, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC established a fund to provide this assistance to immigrant New Yorkers unable to pay burial fees for their loved ones who have died during the COVID-19 emergency who may not have previously been eligible. Based on estimates created jointly by MOIA and the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, there will be approximately 1,000 decedents from the COVID-19 emergency who meet this criteria. Through the Immigrant Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Burial Assistance Program. HRA will screen individuals who apply for burial assistance in the same manner that it currently does, except that where someone may not be eligible for HRA’s Burial Allowance program, the Immigrant Burial Assistance Program may provide support. The fund will pay up to $1700 in burial expenses for each applicant, including towards the funeral service, burial, and/or cremation of each deceased individual as long as the overall expenses do not exceed $3,400.

You can make a donation to the Burial Assistance Fund via the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund here:
https://www1.nyc.gov/site/fund/donate/donate.page

You can find out more about burial assistance here:
https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/burial-assistance.page