Under current law, only an individual who paid, or incurred the burial expenses, which may have been either a family member, or person who owned a funeral home, would have been eligible for reimbursement from the New York State Office of Victim Services.
However, as a result of the new legislation, funeral homes can now pay for burial costs on behalf of a family, and then recover those expenses from the state.
“Families experiencing a sudden and tragic loss should not have to also face the burden of burial costs,” Gov. Cuomo stated. “This legislation will help give the family members of homicide victims some peace of mind, as they say their final goodbyes. I thank the sponsors of this legislation for their work in getting this passed.”
According to the governor’s office, the Office of Victim Services can provide up to $6,000 for burial expenses, and those costs covered include funeral services; a burial plot; the deceased’s burial outfit; clergy fees; transportation costs for the deceased; obituaries; a head stone; flowers; the death certificates; and church fees for religious services and flowers.
However, by law, a homicide victim’s family must utilize any existing insurance or funeral expense protection before seeking assistance from OVS.
Between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016, the agency approved 501 death claims, and paid more than $1.8 million in funeral expenses, according to the state.