What Are the Benefits of Prepaying a Funeral Prior to Your eligibility for SSI or Medicaid?
Prepaying allows you to pay for the funeral of your choice before assets arc used up for medical care and before assets are reduced to SSI or Medicaid eligibility levels.
Ask your funeral director about Funeral Planning CHOICES™ prefunding options— the New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund™ and Sure Trust™. These programs meet all Federal and State laws.
WHAT DOES THE LAW ALLOW?
Federal and State law permit you to pay in full for future funeral arrangements by depositing funds into one properly established irrevocable account tied to a prepaid funeral contract. Such funds are considered excludable resources when SSI, Medicaid or General Assistance eligibility is determined.
WILL YOUR PREPAID FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS QUALIFY AS AN EXEMPTION?
If you prearrange a funeral through Funeral Planning CHOICES™—New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund™ or Sure Trust™, you can be sure the funeral arrangements qualify for the SSI/Medicaid exemption and are being provided by a properly registered funeral home. Opening an account with Funeral Planning CHOICES™ allows you to arrange the funeral of your (or your loved one’s) choice, provided that:
- The cost of the funeral is reasonable
- The account is irrevocable, meaning the money cannot be refunded nor can it be used for any purpose other than funeral costs.*
WHY CHOOSE THE NEW JERSEY PREPAID FUNERAL TRUST FUND™?
Established in 1981, the New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund™ is a well-managed trust that deposits 100 percent of your trusted money in an FDIC insured account. All funds are invested in jumbo certificates of deposit, which allow the trust to offer competitive interest rates and growth from the day of deposit. And unlike traditional savings accounts which may become inaccessible at the nine of death, your New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund™ account is immediately available to cover funeral expenses.
* State law requires that any excess money remaining in irrevocable accounts, after funeral expenses have been paid, be forwarded to the State Medicaid Program.
CAN I USE AN EXISTING LIFE INSURANCE POLICY TO PREFUND MY FUNERAL?
Yes. Sure Trust™, the Funeral Insurance Administration Trust, is a prefunding option that benefits families who would otherwise have to surrender whole lite insurance policies during the spend-down process for SSI, Medicaid or General Assistance eligibility. Sure Trust™ meets all SSI, Medicaid and General Assistance requirements, ensuring that you will not be forced to “cash out” insurance policies in order to quality for assistance.
SSI AND MEDICAID ALLOW YOU TO HAVE THE FOLLOWING ASSET**
Personal Items: Clothing, furnishings, appliances, jewelry, equipment, car.
Cash: Limited to $2,000 liquid assets for an individual.
Life Insurance: When an existing whole life insurance policy has a “face value” of $1,500 or less, it is not applied toward allowable cash assets. If the “face value” is more than $1,500, the “cash value” of the policy will be applied toward the total allowable cash assets (ask about the benefits of Sure Trust™ to avoid having to “cash out” an insurance policy).
Prepaid Funeral Arrangements: Your total funeral costs may include: funeral director’s professional services, funeral home facility and staff charges, transportation charges, casket, vault, similar merchandise, and cash advances for clergy, cemetery, monument, etc. SSI, Medicaid and General Assistance allow these funds to be deposited into one properly established irrevocable account, tied to a prepaid funeral contract. These arrangements may not include repasts (meals following the funeral), flowers or long distance transportation expenses for family members to attend the funeral or accompany the remains to their place of final disposition.
** Consult your county’s Department of Human Services as SSI and Medicaid programs are subject to change.
WHAT IS AN "ELDER LAW" ATTORNEY? AND, DO I NEED ONE?
Elder law is a growing legal specialty that deals with legal issues concerning older persons. Some of the issues elder law attorney’s assist with include Medicaid “spend-down,” probate and estate planning, guardianship/conservatorship, and health and long-term care planning. More specifically, they can assist with filing for public assistance benefits, and the reservation/transfer of assets to avoid spousal impoverishment.