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Issue Alert - 02-09-05

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Date:

Oct 01, 2002

Issue Summary:

Policy changes affecting prepaid funeral contracts and SER applications for burial/cremation services

Persons Affected:

FIP, SDA and MA recipients who have or want to purchase irrevocable prepaid funeral contracts; Applicants for SER help with burial or cremation services.


Background

Family Independence Program (FIP), State Disability Assistance (SDA), Medicaid (MA), State Emergency Relief(SER)

What's Happening?

The allowable principal value of irrevocable prepaid funeral contracts now cannot exceed the “allowable principle value,” which is equal to $10,500 minus the amount that is already assigned toward the funeral (through life insurance or an annuity). For those persons applying for SER to help with burial or cremation expenses, the maximum family contribution amount has been increased from $2450 to $2600. In addition, FIA now requires more detailed verification of burial services. To reduce fraud, SER applicants must provide an itemized “statement of goods and services” that shows services provided, charges, and payments. This statement must be signed by the SER applicant and the burial service provider.

What Should Advocates Do?

If you have clients who have been turned down for FIP, MA or SDA because the principal value of their irrevocable prepaid funeral contract exceeded $2,000, advise them to reapply under this new policy. If you have clients who receive FIP, MA or SDA and would like to purchase an irrevocable prepaid funeral contract, advise them of this new policy. If you have clients who will need help with SER for burial services, you should advise them they will need the more detailed statement that is signed both by the them and the business providing the services.

What Should Clients Do?

Clients who have been turned down for FIP, MA or SDA because the principal value of their irrevocable prepaid funeral contract exceeded $2,000 should reapply under this new policy. Clients who are seeking SER help must obtain a detailed statement of the proposed services that is signed by both themselves and the funeral home.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services office handle these type of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan Legal Assistance Network website (http://www.mlan.net/locate.html) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738