Funeral Funds

Introduction

​Minnesota law requires that when an individual dies in Anoka County without the means to provide for that person’s funeral or final disposition, Anoka County shall pay for the cremation of the person’s remains and burial or interment, unless the next-of-kin takes possession of the ashes. If cremation is not in accordance with the decedent’s or the decedent’s next-of-kin’s personal preferences or the known practices of the decedent’s faith tradition, then Anoka County shall provide for a decent burial and funeral.

​Freedom of choice in the selection of a funeral director will be granted to persons lawfully authorized to make arrangements. The burial, funeral and final disposition shall be in accordance with the personal preferences or known practices of the decedent’s or the decedent’s next-of kin’s faith tradition. If the wishes of the decedent, or the decedent’s faith tradition are not known and no next-of-kin are located, Anoka County may provide for the cremation of the decedent’s remains and burial or interment.
​Minn. Stat. §§ 261.035, 256.935.

Anoka County will determine eligibility for funeral assistance according to the procedures set out below, which shall include a determination of whether the decedent had contracted for any prepaid funeral arrangements. If prepaid arrangements were made, Anoka County shall authorize arrangements to be implemented in accordance with the deceased instructions. Policies pertaining to burials are at the discretion of the County Board to the extent that they do not conflict with special provisions in state law for MFIP burials. A burial is considered an MFIP burial if the deceased was a recipient of MFIP at the time of death. Otherwise, the burial is a County Relief burial using all county funds.

In the event that Anoka County does pay for the necessary expenses of a funeral and final disposition, Anoka County shall have a claim against the person or the person’s estate to recover the costs expended for the funeral and final disposition.
​Minn. Stat. §§ 261.04, 256.935, 524.3-805.​

Maximum Funeral Payment


​Anoka County requires pre-approval for all burial assistance payments. Anoka County will not reimburse for burial expenses once paid to the funeral home.

A.  MFIP FUNERALS

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​If an individual is the recipient of MFIP at the time of death, and the individual is otherwise eligible for burial assistance, the decedent may receive assistance for funeral expenses. Assistance will be provided for the following services up to the maximum amount listed on the rate sheet:
​  Mortuary expenses: Cremation or embalming
​  Professional services for public visitation service, funeral service, or grave site service.
​  Burial space
​  Opening and closing of grave
​  Vault
​  Casket / Urn

​ Donations designated for funeral costs may be used to purchase a headstone, for interment, religious service or transporting the body in and out of the community in which the deceased resided. Any donations designated for a cemetery lot, opening and closing, and vault costs will be deducted from the County payment.

B. COUNTY RELIEF FUNERALS

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​ It is the County’s responsibility to provide a decent burial to an individual who is considered the financial responsibility of Anoka County, pursuant to Minn. Stat. §256G.02, when there are no other resources available and when the deceased is not a recipient of MFIP. Unless the decedent’s or next-of-kin’s wishes or faith tradition oppose cremation, cremation will be the authorized service. Anoka County will only authorize payment for the following services up to the maximum amount listed on the rate sheet:
​  Mortuary expenses: Cremation or embalming
​  Professional services for public visitation service, funeral service, or grave site service.
​  Burial space
​  Opening and closing of grave
​  Vault
​  Casket / Urn

​ The County payment at the rates outlined in the following chart must be accepted as payment in full by the selected funeral home. Any money paid by family members or other persons or agencies will reduce the amount the County will pay. All cash donations will be considered a resource and must be used to reduce the County payment. The family may supplement the county funeral allowance to purchase a grave marker, or pay excess cemetery charges incurred to bury the deceased in a family plot.

C. Expenses Not Covered

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​ Whether an MFIP or County Paid Burial, the following expenses will not be covered:
​  Family Travel & Lodging
​  Flowers
​  Food and Beverage
​  Entertainment, except as outlined above
​  Clothing, unless clothing for the deceased is unavailable
​  Police escort
​  Memorial cards and thank-you cards
​  Memorial donations
​  Planning costs

Funeral Assistance Maximum Payment Rates

Cremation

Stillborn - Adult

Limited Professional Services, includes container
$640
with Memorial Services
$845
with Professional Services, Memorial Service, and Reviewal
$1,325
Cremains Interment and Lot
$200
Urn/Vault
$90
Transportation
$100
MAXIMUM PAYMENT ****
$1,715

Traditional Burial

12 yr - Adult

1 yr - 12 yr

Stillborn - 1 yr

Professional Services
$1,325
$990
$685
Vault & Installation
$600
$600
$600
Cemetery Lot
$480
$480
$480
Opening and Closing
$305
$305
$305
Transportation *
$100
$100
$100
** Additional payment for oversize casket      
*** Storage costs      
MAXIMUM PAYMENT **** $2,810 $2,475
$2,170
* Transportation at a rate of $1.60 per mile, for mileage exceeding 60 miles, may be allowed in lieu of cemetery lot payment if it is necessary to transport the deceased to a privately purchased or existing burial site, up to an additional $480.
​** Anoka County will pay up to an additional $250 for an oversized casket when required based upon the opinion of the funeral director.​
​*** Storage costs will be allowed (in addition to the overall maximum) only when absolutely necessary. These allowances should be considered on an individual case basis.
​**** Costs that exceed the County’s Maximum Payment in order to comply with religious or cultural customs or practices must be approved by the department Manager or Director.

Service Providers

The next-of-kin has the freedom to choose the funeral director to handle the arrangements. However, the selected funeral director must accept payment from the County as payment in full and cannot make arrangements with the next-of-kin or others for additional payment. Anoka County will not reimburse for burial expenses once paid to the funeral home. When the funeral director seeks payment for services, the funeral director must provide the necessary paperwork to document the services and expenses and a signed authorization to release the information to the County. Invoices and/or contracts can be faxed to 763-422-2318.

Determining Eligibility & Processing Claim


A. Interviewing Applicants

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​ An interview is not required.

B. Processing Timelines

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​ Anoka County will attempt to process applications within 48 hours of receipt of all required documents.

C. Receipt of Application

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​ The application must be received prior to the service. Any exceptions require manager approval. All outstanding verification(s) must be received within 30 days of the date the application was received.

D. Residency

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​ To be eligible for funeral assistance, the deceased person must meet Anoka County residency requirements. Citizenship does not factor into residency. Residency is met in any of the following ways:
​  * If on Public Assistance, Anoka County must be the financially responsible county (CFR). Deceased may have resided in another county, but if Anoka County is financially responsible for the case, Anoka is financially responsible for the funeral assistance. Likewise, if the deceased resides in Anoka County and is the CFR of another county pursuant to Minn. Stat. §256G.02, Anoka County will not pay the cost of that burial.
​  * If not on Public Assistance, the deceased person must have a last known address in Anoka County and be able to provide verification of this. Verification can be a lease agreement, rent receipt, mail received, etc.
​  When determining the county of responsibility for a college student, consider the living arrangement in which they lived to be the county of responsibility. If they lived in a dormitory, or other non-permanent housing, consider their parent’s residence to be their permanent address.
​  If individuals are vacationing/visiting/traveling through the county, the county/state/country in which they are from is responsible for their funeral assistance. However, if an individual recently moved here, is living in a shelter or temporarily with family and friends with the intent of moving here, then Anoka County will be responsible for the funeral expenses, unless the individual is the financial responsibility of another county pursuant to Minn. Stat. §256G.02.
​  Anoka County will pay for limited transportation expenses of the deceased person within the state of Minnesota. We will not pay for transportation outside the state of Minnesota.
​  If an Anoka County resident dies while visiting another state and the next of kin want the remains transported to Minnesota, the cost of the transportation and all costs associate with the burial cannot exceed the maximum payment. No transportation costs can be pre-paid prior to the Anoka County Funeral Assistance application. Any pre-paid costs will be used to off-set the Anoka County maximum payment amount.

E. Reimbursement to Other Counties


​ If Anoka County is the CFR, and the client is not a recipient of MFIP, Anoka County will reimburse another Minnesota County up to the maximum payment rates as outlined above if that county incurs costs in providing a burial.

F. Unclaimed Decedents


​ It is the responsibility of the Medical Examiner’s office to make the arrangements for burial of persons without identified family or other concerned persons pursuant to Minn. Stat. §390.21. Minnesota Law prohibits cremation if the deceased person is unknown or if the body is unclaimed. Anoka County will pay rates for the burial as outlined above and if the decedent is a prior recipient of MFIP, Anoka County will seek reimbursement as outlined in this Policy. Financial Workers may assist the Medical Examiner’s office in identifying next of kin.

G. Determining Eligibility


Income Limit
​Households (HH) with income over 150% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines are not eligible for Funeral Assistance. The deceased person is counted in the household size.

Income of Deceased Person/Responsible Relative
a. Earned Income: If the deceased person was employed and had a life insurance policy, the life insurance benefit is considered an asset available to pay for funeral costs.
b. Income of Responsible Relative (Spouse or parent of minor child): If the responsible person is employed, we must request pay stubs from the last 30 days. All their income, unless otherwise excluded, is counted towards meeting the income limit test.
c. HH Income Limits: If the responsible relative has earned income, the HH Income Limits for their HH size which are in effect on the date of death will determine if the income is at or below the standard for the household size.
d. Unearned Income: Sources of countable unearned income could be, for example: unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation payments or trust payments. Do not count public assistance payments such as MFIP, GA, MSA if deceased or responsible relative was on public assistance.
e. SSI - (Supplemental Security Income): SSI is paid on the first of the month for which it is intended. SSI recipients do not have to be alive every day of the month for which their benefits are intended. For example, if they die on June 3rd, they keep all their June issuance. SSI is considered a federally funded public assistance benefit and is excluded.
f. RSDI and VA benefits: RSDI benefits are generally paid to individuals on the 3rd of each month, however some individuals receive staggered issuance. Regardless of what day the benefits are issued on, they are intended for the previous month. For an individual to be eligible for their RSDI income, they must live the entire month. RSDI and VA Benefits are sources of unearned income and become an asset if there are remaining funds after death.
g. Rental Income from property owned by the deceased: The rental income belongs to the estate, and is therefore available for burial expenses.

Assets of Deceased Person/Responsible Relative
​All available assets are counted even if the deceased or responsible relative is on a Public Assistance program. Evaluation of all assets will be completed by Anoka County to determine if they are available.

Excluded Assets of Deceased Person/Responsible Relative
​  a. $2000 if there is a surviving spouse, dependent children or both.
​  b. the first home if there is a surviving spouse or dependent children living in the home.
​  c. the first vehicle if there is a surviving spouse or a minor child over the age of sixteen years old in the household.
​  d. vehicles jointly owned by someone outside of the household and not the responsible relative.
​  e. $100 of available assets will be excluded to help cover the cost of items not covered by funeral assistance (death certificates, obituary, etc.).

Assets vs. Income
​   a. the income of the deceased person is considered an asset in the month received. It is not counted when you do the income limit test.
​  b. the income of the responsible relative is considered income, and is counted for the income limit test.
​  c. If a responsible relative meets the income limit test, then review the available assets.

Estate of the Deceased Person
All assets belonging to the estate of the deceased except those excluded above, are to be considered as available for the cost of the burial. This includes life insurance benefits, nursing home account balances, pre-paid burial accounts, insurance settlements, and victim’s reparations. If the deceased individual owned assets that could be sold to pay for burials costs, those too should be considered. Verification will be needed of all accounts.

a. Life Insurance Policies: If there is a life insurance policy, the beneficiary must be identified before burial assistance funds will be authorized. If there is a living beneficiary who is considered to be the next of kin (spouse, child adult or minor child), sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. the proceeds from the life insurance payout must be used for burial expenses. If there is no specific beneficiary named or if the beneficiary is the funeral director, the proceeds must be used for the burial of the individual. Anoka County will not approve burial assistance payments without verification of the life insurance proceeds.

b. Pre-paid Burial Accounts-Counted and Excluded Assets: If deceased has prepaid for funeral services including casket, body preparation, professional services or has a burial account trust, irrevocable trust account, or life insurance policy the value of each are considered countable assets and applied against the maximum level of burial assistance. If prior to the date of death, the deceased paid for the burial plot, which may include charges for opening and closing of grave, it is considered excluded real property and is not counted as an available asset.

c. Donations, Fund Raisers or Other Contributions: In some circumstances there may be community donations or fundraisers for the deceased or surviving family members. These assets must be considered prior to approving Funeral Assistance. Proceeds from fund-raising, donations and any other contributions from friends, family and/or the community are considered assets and are used to reduce the amount of the Anoka County Funeral Assistance payment.

Approval or Denial of Claim


​Anoka County will attempt to process the application and approve or deny the application within 48 hours. Oftentimes additional information is required that may extend this time frame. Once the determination has been made to either approve or deny the application, the applicant will be informed of the decision. If denied, the Applicant will receive a written notice which will include the appeal rights. a. Appeals: The applicant has a right to an appeal hearing when an application is denied. The applicant will receive a standard letter indicating the denial of their application and the letter informs applicants that if they disagree with the determination, they must appeal that determination within 60 days. Appeals should be sent to the State. Once the State receives an appeal, the hearing is coordinated through the Economic Assistance appeal process. 

County Collection Efforts


​If Anoka County paid for the burial, Anoka County will initiate all lawfully permitted collection efforts.

Other Resources


​Victims of Violent Crimes


​ Victims of Violent crimes may be entitled to receive financial assistance for burial costs. To be eligible, the applicant must show that the crime occurred in MN and the deceased is a resident of MN. Additionally, they must show that the deceased is an innocent victim of a violent crime. There are exceptions for residents visiting other countries or states. Applications should be filed with the Crime Victims Reparations Board.

​Contact 651-201-7300 to request an application.

Veteran’s Benefits


​ Veterans, and in some cases, their spouses, may be entitled to free burial (burial plot only) at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. The burial includes the fees for the opening and closing of the grave, as well as the headstone. If the next of kin does not know if the individual is a veteran, refer these individuals to our Veteran’s Services Office, at 763-324-4500. Individuals may also contact the VA directly to determine if the deceased or the spouse of the deceased was a veteran. Verification requests for veteran status of adult decedents should be made to VA regional offices, medical facilities, or VA national cemeteries. By calling the VA toll-free benefits number, 1-800-827-1000, you will reach a representative who can verify if a decedent was a veteran and if VA burial benefits are in order.

​Note: The VA is unable to verify veteran status of unidentified remains.

What information is required for verification?


​The information needed for verification is the decedent's name and VA claim number (if known). Otherwise, as much of the following information as possible will be useful: Social Security number, date of birth, branch of military service, service number, and service dates. Contact Anoka County Veteran’s Services office for assistance with this process.