New York State Funeral Directors Association

Any individual who is an applicant for Medicaid/SSI, and is in the “spend-down” process, should meet with a funeral director.

How to Qualify
During a prearrangement conference, the individual should select which funeral services and merchandise he or she desires as disclosed on a “General Price List.” The funeral director will then note these selections on an itemized statement (commonly known as a “Preneed Itemization Statement”) which will reflect the current retail value of the merchandise and services selected. The next step is funding the arrangements. Funeral prearrangements will qualify as a prepaid funeral resource exclusion, and not counted as an asset, if the funds are placed in an irrevocable prepaid funeral trust account.

Payments to Purchasers
Purchasers who have entered into irrevocable burial trusts may only use the funds for payment of funeral services and merchandise upon the death of the intended funeral recipient. If the account is irrevocable and there is an overage after the final funeral charges have been paid, the overage will be paid to the county where the beneficiary resided and was receiving assistance.

All documentation generated by this process must meet stringent federal and state requirements for resource qualification and funeral service disclosures. Social Services personnel require evidence that the funeral arrangements exist and that they are linked irrevocably to the funding vehicle. Additionally, all of the documentation generated by the funeral home must meet Federal Trade Commission standards for price and itemization disclosure, and all of the provisions of Section 453 of the New York State General Business Law.