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What are burial funds and do they affect my SSI benefits?

There are many different rules for North Carolinians who are seeking to receive or are already receiving Supplemental Security Income through the Social Security disability program. One benefit that might not be thought about frequently is burial funds. Often, people do not know the details of a burial fund and how it might affect their SSI benefits. That, however, does not diminish its importance.

Quite simply, a burial fund is meant to help pay for burial expenses. It can be placed in a bank account, be part of a prepaid arrangement for the burial, or be placed in another financial instrument. A burial fund does not count as a resource for SSI benefits provided that it does not go beyond a certain value. The person and his or her spouse can set up to $1,500 aside to pay for burial costs without seeing their SSI benefits diminish. If there is a life insurance policy or some other burial arrangement that goes beyond the $1,500, then the fund might be viewed as a resource. The basic limit for resources that an individual can have is $2,000. For a couple, the limit is $3,000.

Accumulation of interest on a burial fund does not count as a resource of income for SSI and will not negatively impact one's ability to receive SSI benefits. To set up a burial fund, the account must state that it is for burial expenses. The account can be titled as such or there can be a signed statement to this effect. If money from a burial fund is spent on something else, there might be a penalty assessed.

Setting up a burial fund and preparing for the future in this way is something that many people decide to do. They might act without knowing how this can influence their SSI benefits. There are certain requirements with SSI benefits that should be understood in all situations, though, not just burial funds. For assistance with this or any other circumstance related to SSI Supplemental Security Income, a legal professional is essential.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Spotlight On Burial Funds -- 2017 Edition," accessed on Aug. 7, 2017

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