Does SSI help with funeral expenses?
My granddaughter-in-law's mother is dying. The mother receives SSI and doesn't have any insurance. Does SSI help any with the funeral like SS?
There is no funeral benefit for recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The purpose of SSI benefits is to provide a floor against poverty by providing a set benefit amount for current needs, like food and housing. To qualify for the payment, the person must have low income and few assets.
Social Security is a social insurance program. It is based on the earnings of the worker and has set benefits such as retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. One of the survivor's benefits is a very small death benefit under certain circumstance.
One resource that families can access to assist with the understanding of funeral costs and work with suppliers that offer what they want and can afford is The Funeral Consumers Alliance. Their website is http://www.funerals.org. There are local chapters with very specific information.
If she's on SSI now, that office already has a record of her and her eligibility for those benefits so they will probably pay some amount for funeral expenses. Call her local SSI office and ask about eligibility criteria and amounts for funeral expenses. They may not give you specific information because of privacy laws, but if you call around to a few funeral homes and ask them how much SSI will pay, they will know. There are specific guidelines that vary not only from state to state but in some states, from county to county. A local funeral director in the town in which she lives, will know what the guidelines are. Some will only pay up to a set amount - in some places in NY, it's $1400 and in others it may be only $800. Some counties also stipulate that if you choose to have services beyond what SSI requires a funeral home to give for their benefit, you may contribute up to a set amount of money. Other counties will not allow any additional contribution at all.
When you tell a funeral director that there are limited resources, a reputable caring one will work with you to your satisfaction.