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Burial Funds

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

2161. Burial Funds

2161.1 Do burial funds count as resources?

Money you set aside for burial up to $1,500 each for you and your spouse are excluded from resources if:

  1. The resource is designated as funds specifically set aside for burial; and

  2. The funds set aside for burial are not combined with non-burial assets.

Note: This exclusion also applies to burial funds set aside for the burial of an eligible child's ineligible parent or parents when parent-to-child deeming applies (see §2169).

2161.2 What do burial funds include?

Burial funds include revocable burial contracts, burial trusts or other burial arrangements, cash, financial accounts, or other financial instruments with a definite cash value that is clearly designated for burial expenses.

2161.3 When does SSA reduce your exclusion?

We must reduce your $1,500 exclusion by:

  1. The face value of insurance policies you own if the cash surrender value of the policies has been excluded as described in §2159; and

  2. Amounts in an irrevocable burial trust or any other irrevocable arrangement that is available to meet your (or your spouse's) burial expenses, unless it is for excluded burial spaces.

2161.4 Does interest earned on your burial fund count as resources?

Interest earned on your excluded burial funds and appreciation in the value of the funds do not count as income and resources if you leave them as part of your burial fund.

2161.5 What if I use my burial fund for another purpose?

If you use any excluded burial funds, including excluded interest or appreciation for a purpose other than burial, we may withhold your SSI check in an amount up to the amount of burial funds you spend.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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