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Burial Assistance

What does the Burial Assistance Program provide?

The Burial Assistance Program provides a maximum of $1,000.00 towards the cost of a burial or $650.00 towards the cost of a cremation.  Assistance is provided if the deceased is determined eligible and the total cost of the burial or cremation is no more than $2,000.00.  The total cost of a burial for a deceased person requiring an oversized casket cannot exceed $3,000.00.  Burial Assistance payments are made directly to the contract funeral home selected by the decedent’s next of kin.

Who is eligible?

An individual may be eligible if the money available to the deceased on the date of the death does not exceed $1,000.00.  This amount includes any remaining money from banking and checking accounts, Social Security checks, final pay check, etc. When determining eligibility, the income and assets of his/her spouse (if married) or parents (if a minor child) will be considered.  To be eligible, the deceased must be a resident of the District of Columbia, even if death occurs outside of the District of Columbia.  Also, burial or cremation services must be arranged through a funeral home under contract with the District and the deceased’s body must not have been released to a non-contract funeral home at the time of the application.

What funeral homes are under contract to the District for this program?

(A list of Contracted Funeral Homes will be provided at the time of application due to frequent changes during the year.)

Where do I apply for assistance?

Come to the Economic Security Administration (ESA) Service Center at 645 H Street NE, between 7:30 am and 4:45 pm, Monday through Friday.  You will be asked to complete an application and provide information to determine if the deceased is eligible.

What should I bring when I apply?

Please bring documents that

  • Verify income and assets, such as pay stubs and bank account statements for the deceased and his/her spouse if married (or parents, if a minor child);
  • Verify that the deceased is a District resident (e.g. lease, utility bill), and
  • Establish your relationship to the deceased (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate.)
  • SSN of the deceased

Where can I get more information?

Call the ESA Burial Assistance Unit on (202) 698-4112 or (202) 698-6662


Service Details: 
Service Contact: 
Office of Specialized Services, Burial Assistance Program
Contact Phone: 
(202) 698-4112
Contact TTY: 
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday 7:30 am to 4:45 pm