If Medicare and Medicad offer funeral benefits, are there restrictions if someone committed suicide?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 06, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

If Medicare and Medicad offer some funeral expences, would there be restictions on the money if someone committed suicide instead of dying of natural causes?

Expert Answers

Ed Markin, BS, MBA, PhD, is the director of research for the Alzheimer's Disease Research Foundation and author of more than a dozen books. For the past 15 years, Markin has operated the Funeral Help Program.

Medicare and Medicaid vary from state to state, so for an exact answer you'll need to contact a benefits adviser in your state. That said, Medicare and Medicaid do not, as a rule, pay death benefits beyond the Social Security program's $255 one-time payment to surviving spouse or children. These programs do, however, allow you to set aside funds for funeral expenses as part of the 'assets spend-down' to qualify for certain benefits. On average these funds are limited (about $1500 total is a number you'll often see, but again .. check with experts in your state) and may not be enough to cover funeral expenses. A Totten Trust (set up through your bank), life/burial insurance or prepaid services are more viable options considering the cost of a funeral today. Other than exclusionary clauses in insurance policies (ask!) benefits are not as a rule limited in the case of suicide.