New York State to Fund Burial Costs for Families of Homicide Victims

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Photo by Rob Broomfield via flickr

“The average price of a funeral in New York these days can amount to in excess of $8,000,” according to US Funerals.com.

Noting that this can be a burden on families, especially for loved ones where the death was sudden, New York State has made changes to an existing burial funds law that “increased the amount of emergency funeral and burial funds that are available to the survivors of people whose deaths were due to a crime,” News.WBFO.org reports.

Elizabeth Cronin, director of the Office of Victim Services (OVS), is quoted in WWXInews.org saying, “For many families who are going through this trauma, they don’t have the funds to start the process, and some funeral homes will not begin to start the funeral process without having money up front.”

Previously, through the Office of Victim Services, families could receive up to $2,500 in emergency grants which could be used for covering anything a survivor needs ranging from medical expenses, crime scene clean-up, therapy, to moving expenses.

On June 26, that emergency grant increased to $3,000, with burial and funeral expenses being offered up to $6,000 in reimbursement. The grants can be paid either directly to a funeral home or to survivors, OVS noted.

Some New Yorkers were questioning how OVS would handle, “…cases where the deceased played a role in the crime that led to their death.”

Cronin is leading the way with compassion, saying, “We realize that so many of these families are not the guilty party and therefore, should not have to be responsible for the entire payment.” She continued, “…we are limiting our contributory conduct analysis to 50 percent.”

News.WBFO.org reports that in 2018, OVS paid $2 million for 475 death claims. The money used to fund all restitutions given by OVS comes from “fines, surcharges and fees paid by people convicted of crimes and traffic violations.”

Applications for grants can be made online. OVS notes that, “Applicants do not have to demonstrate financial need or income eligibility to receive the grants.”

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