Public Assistance Benefits

Public Assistance Benefits

In certain circumstances the New Jersey Department of Human Services may provide funds to help pay funeral expenses for needy individuals. Eligible individuals include those receiving Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The state can provide $2246 towards the funeral expenses and $524 towards the cemetery or crematory costs for a total of $2770. Family and friends may supplement up to $1570 toward the funeral expense for a maximum total of $4340. The total funeral cost cannot exceed $4340 and the decedent’s assets cannot be used to supplement the funeral.

The chart below illustrates the amount of reimbursement available:


Funeral Reimbursement

Cemetery Reimbursement

Family Supplementation

Maximum Cost Allowed

Stillborn to Six Days Old





One Week to Two Years Old





Adult (Over Two Years Old)





How to Arrange a Public Assistance Funeral

At the arrangement conference the family should inform the funeral director that the deceased was receiving public assistance and might be eligible for burial funds. In New Jersey funding for public assistance (welfare) funerals is obtained through the county board of social services where the deceased was receiving benefits. The funeral director contacts the county social services office with the deceased name, date of birth, date of death and social security number. If they determine that the deceased is eligible, the funeral home is given a control number and social worker contact and phone number. The funeral home and family can then arrange a funeral meeting the guidelines shown above. The funeral home provides the family an itemized list of expenses - the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services. In Essex County, person arranging the funeral must take the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services to the designated social worker at the Essex County Department of Citizen Services, Division of Welfare. If the funeral and cemetery expense is approved , the family member is given a four page voucher (PA-11 form) to give to the funeral director.

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