Medicaid and Prepaying A Funeral - There is help for this essential expense.
The state of Oregon, as well as most counties, have no funds available to pay for the funeral and burial of those on public assistance. This is a problem for everyone: individuals with limited income and resources, their families, nursing home administrators, and funeral homes. It is a problem for society in general.
There is a solution.
The National Funeral Trust Service, a prearrangement program offered by members of the Oregon Funeral Directors Association, provides a way to set aside money for funeral and burial expenses. Following is information about Medicaid eligibility and the ability to utilize monetary assets for this essential expense.
Who Qualifies For An Excluded Burial Plan?
Excess monetary assets for professional services may be set aside in a Burial Plan for:
- The individual applicant
- The applicant's spouse
Excess monetary assets for burial space and merchandise may be set aside for:
- The individual applicant
- Minor and adult children
- Siblings and biological parents
- The spouse of any of above
This is an opportunity to pay for the funeral of choice before dollars are exhausted by medical bills and before income and resources decline to the eligibility level for Medicaid. (OAR 461-160-015) Consult your local Medicaid office for established guidelines.
WHO CAN SET UP A BURIAL PLAN?
It is relatively easy to prepay funeral arrangements and apply for Medicaid.
The Individual or Family
The Medicaid caseworker and/or community funeral director can assist individuals and families with a Burial Plan.
Nursing Home Administrators or Others
Anyone acting in the best interest of an individual may serve as "that person's agent" in setting up a pre-paid funeral plan. There is no legal requirement that there be any demonstrated relationship between the beneficiary (the person the plan is for) and a purchaser. A person making such a purchase is presumed to be acting "on behalf of" the beneficiary. In a ruling by the Oregon Assistant Attorney General, letter 3/24/93, "The purchaser can enter into the contract either directly by signing it or indirectly by authorizing another person to sign it for him or her. There is NO legal requirement that the person signing on behalf of the purchaser have an 'official' legal status, such as power of attorney, guardianship or conservatorship, in order to legally sign on behalf of the purchaser. Anyone who is authorized to act as the purchaser's agent may do so."
What is A Burial Plan?
Monetary assets set aside in a separate account and designated for funeral and burial costs represent a Burial Plan. A revocable trust with defined burial costs or an irrevocable trust is such a qualified fund.
A BURIAL PLAN HAS TWO DIFFERENT CATEGORIES:
- Burial Allowance (for professional services) - Up to $1,500 PLUS
- Burial Space & Merchandise - No value limitation
What is Allowable?
This includes the professional services of the funeral director and funeral home facility charges. It also covers such expenses as transportation costs and clergy advances. The allowable amount for these services is up to $1,500. (Rule 461-145040)
Burial Space & Merchandise
In addition to the $1,500 burial fund, related burial merchandise such as caskets, liners, grave sites, crypts, mausoleums, opening and closing, markers, memorials, and foundations may be purchased by those who qualify. THESE ITEMS HAVE NO VALUE LIMITATION. (OAR 461-145-050)
Please note: Interest earned on the designated burial fund is also an exempt resource. Therefore, once the burial fund is so designated, any and all interest accrued is not considered for continued Medicaid eligibility as long as the fund is designated for that purpose. (OAR 461-145-040)
Term Life Insurance is totally excluded from resources of the Medicaid recipient. Any Whole Life Insurance Policy or irrevocable arrangement under $1,500 in value may be supplemented with excess resources up to the $1,500 Burial Allowance limitation.
Multnomah County Aging Services Division