Medicaid/Public Assistance Funerals

Welfare/Medicaid At Need


New Jersey helps the needy pay for funerals through the Department of Human Services (DHS). Called "public assistance" funerals, eligible individuals include:

  • Newly approved (within 15 days of death), eligible applicants or active recipients of these programs:
    • Work First NJ/ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (WFNJ/TANF), 
    • Work First New Jersey/General Assistance (WFNJ/GA), 
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid Only;
  • Stillborns/deceased newborns of WFNJ, SSI and WFNJ/GA recipients. 
  • WFNJ recipients in a NJ public institution (not a penal or correctional ) where they died within the first six months 
  • WFNJ/GA recipients who died while patients in hospitals 
  • Medicaid Only recipients who lived in the community or in Medicaid approved facilities; 
  • Medically Needy recipients in nursing homes; 
  • SSI recipients in hospice care programs; 
  • Individuals in Adult Foster Care; 
  • Community Care Program for the Elderly and Disabled (CCPED) recipients; 
  • Individuals who died while satisfying WFNJ sanctions; 
  • Children of WFNJ recipients (eligibility is subject to the program's family cap); 
  • AIDS Community Care Alternative Program (AACAP) recipients; 
  • Recipients of WFNJ/GA benefits at least six months prior to death;
  • Those found eligible for Assisted Living Services based on Medicaid Only eligibility;
  • Medicaid-eligible individuals in long term care facilities who were not receiving Medicaid benefits at the time of death because the under the care of a hospice agency. (does not apply to those who received hospice care at home); 
  • New Jersey Care-Special Medicaid Program for Aged, Blind and Disabled recipients; 
  • SSI or Medicaid Only recipients who died in a N.J. institution (not penal or correctional); 
  • New Jersey Workability Program participants. 


The maximum amount the state will pay for the funeral home portion and the cemetery portion of a public assistance funeral appears below. The third column combines the two amounts and represents the maximum amount the state will pay for the complete funeral (funeral and cemetery portions).

"Allowable Supplementation" is the amount family and friends can add to the combined maximum amount before the state will reduce its payment proportionately. The last column shows the maximum amount the state will pay for a public assistance funeral combined with the maximum amount the state will allow others to contribute.

AgeFuneral HomeCemetery Combined Funeral
Home/ Cemetery
Maximum Funeral/
Burial Costs
2 years+$3,056$714$3,770$1,570$5,340
1 wk - 2 yrs$2,494$583$3,077$1,178$4,255
Stillborn- 6 days$1,933$452$2,385$785$3,170

                           updated 03/01/2022


The state allows family and friends to contribute money toward a public assistance funeral. Families can apply supplementation to funeral home costs, cemetery costs or both. However, the state limits how much supplementation is allowed.

The supplementation cap is $1,570 for individuals aged two and over. If the family contributes more than $1,570 the state will reduce payment dollar for dollar. For example, if the family contributes $1,670 ($100 more than the cap) the state reduces its maximum adult funeral reimbursment amount from $3,056 to $2,956.

A deceased's assets cannot be used to supplement their funeral. These assets will be collected by the State of NJ. A decedent's assets will not affect the reimbursement received by Funeral Directors and Cemeteries. Assets are:

  • Cash on hand, in a bank account, or nursing home personal needs account (PNA); 
  • Securities, real estate, antique furniture and automobiles; 
  • Life insurance or death or funeral benefits regardless of the beneficiary (Refunded premiums are exempt.); 
  • Money paid and/or owed to the deceased before or after death.


To arrange a public assistance funeral, make an appointment with a funeral home. Tell the funeral director that you think the deceased is eligible for a public assistance funeral. The funeral director will contact the county board of social services to see if the deceased qualifies and seek “conditional” approval. 

The funeral director will make funeral arrangements using welfare funeral planning guidelines. If you want more than the guidelines provide, ask about supplementation. Please note that few cemeteries accept the state maximum $714 as payment in full and usually require supplementation.

The funeral home may ask you to sign a promise to pay in the event that the deceased doesn’t qualify for a public assistance funeral. If the payment request is rejected, the funeral home will bill you for the balance in addition to any unpaid supplementation amount.

Cemetery and funeral home charges are separate. After the services, the funeral home will submit a bill for up to $3,056 to the county board of social services. The cemetery will submit for a maximum payment of $714.

Some funeral homes do not handle welfare funerals and may refer you to another funeral home that does.

SSI, Medicaid and Pre-paying a Funeral

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 are 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. And, visit our website at

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% of your trusted money in an FDIC insured account.

Thousands of accounts are pooled together to earn the best possible interest intended to offset the costs of inflation. This means that, even with future price increases, your funeral director should be able to provide the funeral you selected. And unlike traditional savings accounts which may become inaccessible at the time of death, your New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund™ account is immediately available to cover funeral expenses.

Can I use an existing life insurance policy to prefund my funeral?

Yes. New Jersey State Law requires that you convert all insurance policies to become "irrevocable" that the State of New Jersey Department of Treasury as the beneficiary and the funeral home as the assignee. This helps family who would otherwise have to surrender whole life policies during the spend-down process to SSI/Medicaid or General Assistance eligibility. 

*State law requires that any excess money remaining in irrevocable accounts after funeral expenses have been paid be forwarded to the State Medicaid Program) this applies only to accounts opened on or after February 27, 2000).

SSI and Medicaid allows you to have the following assets:

Personal Items                    Clothing                     Furnishings
Appliances                         Jewelry**                    Equipment**
Car**                                 In Hand*                     In Bank*
In Trust*                         Stocks or other           Existing Whole Life
"Cashable"                         Assets*                        Insurance*

*Cash limits: $2,000 per person & $3,000 per couple
**Consult you County Department of Human Services for limitations and guidelines.

Information on this page is provided by New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, Inc