The Michigan Medicaid program is federally-funded health insurance coverage available to low-income individuals and families. Strict income and resource guidelines must be met to receive Medicaid benefits. Medicaid recipients have limited assets and may wonder how funeral expenses will be paid. If Medicaid does not cover the burial or funeral, other Michigan programs may help with the costs.
The Michigan Medicaid program does not pay for funerals, cremations or burials. Even though the program itself does not contribute towards funerals, you are allowed to set your own money aside to cover the cost. Designated funeral or burial expenses are not counted in the asset total used to determine your eligibility. The money must be set aside in a separate account. If you already purchased a burial plot, it will be considered an exempt asset and not included in your resource limit.
The State Emergency Relief Program
The Michigan Department of Human Services helps pay for burial expenses through the State Emergency Relief program. Help is available to cover the cost of burial for families who cannot afford to pay. To apply, you need to complete an application at your local DHS office within 10 days after a burial or cremation to determine eligibility for the deceased. You will be asked the amount of assistance you are requesting and need to provide proof of the amount. The burial assistance section of the application asks questions regarding your loved one's assets, such as bank statements and vehicles. The decedent's remains must be in Michigan. The program does not cover transportation costs.
The Social Security Survivors Benefits program pays a special "Death Benefit" of $255 to help pay for funeral or burial costs. The deceased must have qualified for Social Security benefits. The payment is made to the surviving spouse, or the child of the deceased if there is no spouse. If a family member dies, promptly notify Social Security by calling 800-772-1213.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides funeral benefits to veterans. The veteran can be buried in a national or private cemetery to receive assistance. If the death is service-connected, the VA provides a burial allowance up to $2,000. The veteran is entitled to a government headstone or marker, burial flag and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Services cannot be made in advance. If you are a veteran, tell your family where your discharge papers are located.
Charitable organizations, churches and funeral homes may also assist with the costs of burial, if the deceased was indigent. Catholic Churches of Michigan is a non-profit organization that helps the people in the community regardless of religion. Locations are throughout the state of Michigan. Family members may also apply for emergency financial help through the Salvation Army or United Way.