Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Medicaid and General Assistance programs in New Jersey permit individuals to set aside money in an irrevocable prepaid funeral account without the funds being counted as a resource for program eligibility purposes.
If you or a family member expect to receive SSI/Medicaid or General Assistance within the next six months, you are permitted to establish an irrevocable funeral arrangement. Prefunding your funeral will not affect your eligibility for assistance. This means that you will be able to plan and pay for your funeral BEFORE your assets are used up for medical care or are reduced to SSI/Medicaid eligibility levels.
When making prepaid funeral arrangements, you have the right to plan the funeral of your choice. However, certain items cannot be paid for in advance when making irrevocable prepaid arrangements, and if included, could jeopardize your SSI/Medicaid eligibility status.
While New Jersey consumer protection laws give families the right to adjust funeral arrangements at the time of death, families and funeral directors should seek to follow the original arrangements whenever possible since the prearrangements were made for a person receiving public assistance. That means that changes should not be made merely to use unspent funds.
To learn more about eligibility requirements for SSI/Medicaid or General Assistance, contact your local funeral director, county social services office or an elder law attorney.
Elder law is a legal specialty that deals with specific issues concerning older persons. An elder law attorney can assist with the preservation or transfer of assets when applying for public assistance benefits. Elder law attorneys can also help you with probate and estate planning, guardianship and conservatorship, health issues and long-term care planning.