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Does Medicaid pay for funerals?

9 answers | Last updated: Oct 23, 2015
sadiqui asked...

Does Medicaid pay for cremation or funerals? I just saw on a funeral home website that it does.


Caring.com User - Joseph L.  Matthews
Caring.com Expert
Joseph L. Matthews is a Caring.com Expert, an attorney, and the author of Long-Term Care: How to Plan & Pay for It and...
45% helpful
Joseph L. Matthews answered...

No, Medicaid does not pay for cremation or funerals. However, the Social Security program can make a payment for funerals and burials, and Medicaid has qualifying rules which allow you See also:
Week 21: What About Mom?
to put aside your own money for funeral and burial expenses, so maybe the funeral home's site was jumbling up this information. Here's the straight scoop.

Social Security. The Social Security survivors benefits program pays a special one-time lump sum amount (called the "Death Benefit") of $255 to help pay for funeral or burial costs for anyone who had qualified for Social Security benefits. The money is paid to the surviving spouse (if he or she lived in the same home as the deceased person), or to the child of the deceased person if there is no surviving spouse. To find out how to apply for this benefit, go to the Social Security Administration Web site page A Special Lump Sum Death Benefit[ssa.gov].

Medicaid. Although Medicaid itself does not pay for funerals, cremations, or burials, it does have rules that allow you to set aside money for your own funeral and burial without having that money "count" as part of your assets when Medicaid determines your eligibility for medical or long-term care coverage. Medicaid coverage is only available to people with little money and few other assets. In counting up your assets, though, Medicaid does not count the value of a burial plot you own. Also, Medicaid allows you to put money aside, in a separate account, to pay for your funeral and burial expenses. Or, you may have a prepaid funeral plan without the value of the plan being counted regarding Medicaid eligibility.

The amount permitted for this funeral/burial account is around $1,500 but the exact amount, and the rules for keeping it separate from your other funds, varies a bit from state to state. To find out the exact amount and rules in your state, you can go onto your state's Medicaid Web site. Use any Internet search engine and enter "Medicaid" and the name of your state. Or, you can call the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 800-677-1116 and ask for contact information for your state's Medicaid office, then call the main office and ask about the rules and dollar limits in your state.


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64% helpful
ButNot4Me answered...

After my mother died, I came to this site and others to research information about funeral planning as I did not want to be unprepared. Because of what's noted here, I went expecting to pay for everything and discovered that I was wrong. Mom had no assets and lived in a nursing home in NJ. The funeral director informed me that Medicaid provides a flat fee (about $2000) which covers funeral expenses. Our needs were few, so we opted for direct cremation and came in under the alloted allowance. At a time when we would have been strapped for cash, mom's remains were handled in a dignified and proper manner and one that would have satisfied her very practical character.

Always check with your funeral director when making arrangements to see if your expenses are covered by Medicaid. The Social Security survivor's benefit is something entirely different and gives a paltry $255 to a surviving spouse or underage minors.


Jaye227 answered...

Yes, in some states. I spoke directly with a funeral director is NJ who told me this is true and how to get a voucher once your loved one has passed away. Check out the link http://www.greenidgefuneralhomes.com/_mgxroot/page_10737.php


67% helpful
cherylann answered...

In new York stated if you are a medicaid receipient your funeral expenses will be paid up to a certain amount, around $3,000 in some cases. this includes cremation only and burial. Your funeral parlor gives your family the form to be filled out and returned for the benefit. I believe that most states have a Medicaid benefit for funeral, for example New Jersey allows up to $4,000.


FredW answered...

Medicaid certainly will assist in paying for a funeral. In NJ, the maximum they will pay to a funeral home is $2246 and $543 toa cemetery/crematory. They allow a family to contribute up to $1570, and then reduce, dollar for dollar, their contribution that a family makes past that.


US Funerals Online answered...

The contribution from the state or county for a public assistance funeral can vary tremendously, and getting financial aid to finance a funeral is not straight-forward. Obviously for those that are in receipt of certain welfare benefits, there can be a limited budget for support, depending on where you live. Most states have funding for indigent burial assistance, but this is generally just the most basic disposition covered at the state's cost.

It is wise to approach a funeral home who cater to more needy families, offering more affordable and flexible funeral options, as they will have the local experience.

For those that are worried about keeping funeral costs down DFS Memorials[dfsmemorials.com] is a network of local, family-owned funeral and cremation providers who specialize in low cost options. All members offer a basic direct cremation for between $495 and $1,395 (depending on where you live).


33% helpful
ksuter20 answered...

If you are considered head of house hold you will not be able to collect the $225. My husband came from Europe and did not have the enough work units in the US to qualify for Social Security so he was able to qualify through me for Social Security inspite of his salary being 4 times what mine was. His payment was half of my measly $922 so about $450. This made me the head of household even though I was no longer working. So not every spouse will be able to collect this small bit of money. What is it supposed to cover anyway. Its just enough for groceries for a month for one person eating very carefully.


P.D. answered...

In Minnesota, my father received medical assistance, and then passed away at the end of last year. After his death the county went into their medicaid estate recovery mode. They told me that "reasonable" funeral expenses were excluded from recovery. I still have not found a specific list of what constitutes reasonable, but they have said that flowers are not reasonable, food for reception is not reasonable, a sound technician is not reasonable, and an organist is not reasonable. For crying out loud! Where do they get this stuff? Where is the list of reasonable funeral expenses written down? I can't find it anywhere.