Understand the expenses and how to get aid if you need it in New York.
Whether you’re overseeing someone else’s funeral or planning for your own, knowing what’s involved and what resources are at your disposal can help you focus on the more important things in life.
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Average cost of a funeral in New York
The average cost of a funeral in New York is $6,132. That’s a few hundred lower than the national average, which comes around $6,410. However, that number takes into consideration more than just funeral home costs. It’s a comprehensive look at what services might run you.
Here’s what it might cost to plan a funeral in New York:
Average cost of cremation in New York
Cremation plus services can run you up to $3,407 in New York. It’s typically cheaper to only pay for cremation, which you can get in some areas of the state for around $700.
However, the cost of cremation varies widely so don’t be afraid to compare rates at different funeral homes, inquiring about what services may be included in the cost.
How to pay for a funeral in New York
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the costs of a funeral in New York, remember that you have options. To fund the ceremony, consider:
- Paying out of pocket. You can pay for the services with cash, credit or debit card. Considering the medium annual household income for the state in 2017 was $64,894, it could end up being a month’s wages or more. So some funeral homes will let you set up a payment plan to help break up the strain.
- Prepaying a funeral home. Create a savings account with a chosen funeral home listed as a trustee or benefit owner. New York law says you have the right to see a general price list, a pre-need itemization statement and a pre-need agreement from the funeral home.
- Life insurance. Some policies cover the cost of funerals and other end-of-life expenses. Check with your provider to see if this applies to your policy.
- Burial insurance. Burial insurance is usually cheaper than life insurance, and most policies don’t require a medical exam.
- Social Security. If the deceased individual was receiving Social Security at the time of death and left behind a spouse or a child under the age of 18, Social Security may pay up to $225 to help fund funeral costs.
- Religious organizations. If you’re a member of a church or other place of worship, it may offer financial assistance for last rites.
- Veteran’s Administration. If you paid for a veteran’s funeral, you could get reimbursed up to $300 for a non-service-related death, and $2,000 for a service-related death. In addition, the New York State VA office will give a supplemental amount of $6,000 for funerals of individuals who died in combat.
- Inquire about low-cost options. Certain funeral homes might offer discounted or free services for low-income individuals. Consider asking your health provider for references if needed.
- The deceased’s estate. According to section 1811 of New York state law, if the deceased person had assets in the estate, the money must first go toward covering funeral costs — before debts or taxes.
- Take out a loan. If you’re backed into a corner, a funeral loan could provide immediate cash, plus allow you to pay it back over time.
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Does New York have funeral assistance programs?
The state of New York doesn’t provide financial assistance for funerals or burials. But you can often get aid through your county or city of residence.
For example, Monroe County’s funeral assistance program offers a maximum benefit of $1,250 for people who don’t have enough money to pay for a funeral. And certain local funeral homes might offer low-cost or free cremation to people who need it. Get in touch with your city government to learn about options.
Funeral assistance in New York City
Low-income residents of NYC can apply for up to $900 in assistance to help fund a funeral that costs no more than $1,700. You’ll need to complete the application and bring it, plus required documentation, to the Burial Claims Unit in Brooklyn.
Other avenues of assistance may include:
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul for the Archdiocese of New York. Families who live in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island can seek assistance from this Catholic organization. Call for help at 212-755-8615.
- National Philoptochos Society. Aid especially for members of the Greek community. Check in at 212-744-4390.
- The Hebrew Free Burial Association. Assistance is available for Jewish individuals. Call 212-239-1662 to inquire.
- The Jewish Heritage for the Blind. It offers free burial plots for handicapped people across the United States.
- Edhi International Foundation. People in the Muslim community can call 718-639-5120 to learn about financial assistance for last rites.
- The Actor’s Fund of America. End-of-life funds might be available for people who have worked in the entertainment industry. Call 212-221-7300 to learn more.
Assistance for crime victims in New York
The New York State Crime Victims Board will pay up to $6,000 to help offset funeral expenses for individuals who died as a victim of a crime. New York’s Help for Crime Victims resource can lend more information about whether or not you may have access to these funds.
If you don’t plan on paying out of pocket for a funeral in New York, you could reach out to local resources to inquire about aid. If you’re pondering your own end-of-life costs, funeral insurance and/or life insurance can help set a plan in motion.
For more information on end of life expenses read our guide on life insurance.