If you – or someone you know – had a child under 17 who was killed by gun violence, you might be eligible for compensation from the state of Illinois to cover funeral and burial costs. The Mychal Moultry Jr. Funeral and Burial Assistance Program went into effect on July 1, 2023, to help relieve the financial burden that comes with this unexpected loss. As The Trace previously reported, many don’t know about the program and have not applied for help, so we’re breaking it down and sharing everything you need to know. You can find the application online here.

Who can apply?

  • An Illinois parent, guardian, or individual who has a relationship akin to a parent and lives in the same household as a child under 17 who was killed by a firearm
  • The person applying must have a household income that does not exceed one-and-a-half times the federal poverty level
  • The criminal history or felony status of the child or the applicant does not matter

What if the child died by suicide?

A person cannot apply for funding if their child died by suicide. A child must have been killed in one of the following ways:

  • First degree murder
  • Second degree murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child
  • Involuntary manslaughter 
  • Involuntary manslaughter of an unborn child

How can I apply for funding?

You must apply for funding jointly with a funeral establishment or cemetery authority that is licensed by the state. The application cannot be submitted through an online form but it can be emailed to [email protected]. It can also be faxed to 217-524-7554 or mailed to the following address:

Bureau of Local Office and Transaction and Support Services
Funeral and Burial Unit
100 S Grand Ave East, 2nd Floor
Springfield, IL 62762

Those who receive funds under this program cannot get other state funding for funeral or burial expenses.

When can I apply?

You and your funeral home or cemetery authority can apply together within a year of the crime. A claim submitted after this timeframe must be accompanied by a written statement from the service provider explaining the delay. In the program’s early days, expenses can be retroactively covered for deaths that occurred between July 2022 and July 2024. 

What expenses are covered?

Applicants can receive up to $10,000 for expenses like:

  • Transportation of the deceased child to a funeral establishment
  • Preparation of the deceased child for burial
  • Preparation, direction, and supervision of the burial, cremation or other disposition of the deceased child, including that of an urn, casket, vault, or mausoleum
  • Administration of the funeral arrangements, including printing materials, transportation of the deceased child to the burial site, and facilities and equipment

What documents do I need for the application?

  • A copy of the child’s death certificate
  • Documentation that verifies your household income
  • A statement detailing funeral and burial expenses, including any applicable taxes, surcharges, and fees

How long should it take to receive funding?

If an application is approved, the agency must pay within 30 days. Payments not disbursed within 60 days will accrue interest. If there is any missing information or documents, applicants have 30 days to provide it or request an extension. Money for new costs goes to the funeral homes, but reimbursement goes to whomever covered the expenses, often the family.

What gets people denied?

There have only been eight applications submitted since the program went into effect on July 1, 2023. Two of them received funds. Three were denied because of missing documents, and three were denied because they didn’t meet the eligibility requirements.

What if I have more questions?

Information about the program can be found here. Applicants can join their funeral home in submitting questions about the program via email at: [email protected]. An IDHS spokesperson stated applicants can also work with their Reimagine Public Safety Act (RPSA) Violence Prevention Services grantees if they need help with the application.

This story has been updated with an option to submit an application via email.