The Social Security Administration has strict guidelines regarding the assets that a Michigan resident who receives Supplemental Security Income benefits may own. Fortunately, the SSA also allows for a number of specific exceptions to their property and asset limits that allow disabled individuals to receive SSI benefits to have some additional assets. One of these assets that the SSA permits is a burial fund.
A burial fund is money that a person has set aside specifically to pay for his or her burial expenses. This money may be set up in a prepaid burial arrangement, such as with a funeral home, held in a bank account or contained within another financial instrument. An account for a burial fund must clearly identify that the money is to be used for burial purposes, either through the titling of the account or by signing a specific statement detailing the purposes of the money and other information.
Typically, the SSA will not count a person's burial fund assets, up to $1,500, as a resource when determining eligibility for SSI benefits. However, if a person and his or her spouse have burial fund assets in addition to the permitted $1,500 per person, or have life insurance policies, some of this money may be counted toward a person's SSI asset limits. Any interest a person earns on his or her burial fund will not count as income or as a resource for purposes of evaluating an individual's assets, which means this interest will not affect a person's SSI benefits.
If one is considering a burial fund and has questions regarding how the burial fund may affect SSI benefits, they may wish to consult with an attorney for guidance.
Source: SSA.gov, "Spotlight on Burial Funds - 2016 edition," accessed on May 27, 2016