The average person who receives Medicare and benefits from the Social Security Administration may expect that the government programs also cover the cost of funeral expenses. Perhaps family members do not push their parents, or an elderly loved one to get life insurance or funeral expenses insurance because they believe that there is a Medicare death benefit that covers all expenses. However, Medicare and the Social Security Administration does not cover the cost of funeral expenses. Here’s what all beneficiaries should know.

Final Expense Planning

Planning for final expenses is not a rosy subject that we really want to talk about with loved ones. Yet, it is a necessary conversation. Luckily, Medicare may pay for “end-of-life care counseling” while you or your loved one is still well. Medicare may cover the first session up to 30 plus minutes, these sessions may provide guidance on how to get through the morbid topics.

However, one reason that the conversation about final expense coverage may be put off is the belief that Medicare covers funeral expenses. Medicare beneficiaries may not purchase insurance to cover their final expenses and family members are also likely to have no worries because of this belief. Some Medicare beneficiaries may tell their children not to worry about final expense planning because Medicare will cover the costs of their final expenses, including funeral costs, with the Medicare death benefit.

Does Medicare Cover Funeral Expenses?

One reason as to why some Medicare beneficiaries and social security recipients may incorrectly believe that they have coverage for funeral expenses is because they heard the term Social Security Lump Sum Death Benefit.

  • The lump sum benefit is a one-time benefit paid to the surviving spouse or child of a deceased individual who received the government benefits.
  • The amount of the one-time benefit is only $255, which is a long way from the necessary amount to cover funeral expenses.
  • The Social Security Administration explains that the spouse must have been living with the deceased spouse at the time of the person’s death to receive the $255 benefit.
  • The rules for receiving no more than the one-time lump sum benefit of $255 apply to all Medicare beneficiaries, whether the deceased individual had original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage Plan, or any other type of Medicare plan.

What About Using Social Security Survivors Benefits to Cover the Funeral?

If you are the spouse, child or surviving parent of a work who has passed and want to claim the Social Security Survivors Benefits to pay for funeral costs. It is important to understand that the benefits of this program will likely not start for months after the reporting of the death of a beneficiary.

  • The SSA explains that eligible loved ones may file for the survivors benefits in person or by calling the number provided on the site.
  • The agency does not permit filing for these benefits online.
  • The SSA decides on whether you qualify to receive the benefits.
  • The benefits will not reach you in time to pay for funeral expenses.

How Do I Report the Death of a Loved One?

Medicare provides a telephone number for a surviving spouse or other family member to call to report the death of a person on Medicare. Have the deceased loved one’s social security number with you when you report the death of a Medicare beneficiary. It is important to note the following:

  • It is not necessary to report the death of a loved one to both Medicare and the Social Security Administration.
  • Most funeral homes report the death of a Medicare beneficiary to Medicare or to the Social Security Administration. However, some families may want to report the death themselves.
  • Once you report the death, ask the questions that are important to you, such as when you or the eligible loved one will receive the death benefit or when will the survivor’s benefits start.

How Do Medicare Beneficiaries Receive Help to Cover Funeral Expenses?

Recipients of Medicare and social security who know that there is no more than the $255 one-time death benefit paid to surviving loved ones often choose to plan ahead, so that surviving loved ones do not bear the costs of paying for an

There are many extra expenses including:

  • Opening a vault
  • Holding a viewing at the funeral home
  • Cemetery costs

Many people who did not purchase life insurance earlier choose to purchase what is commonly referred to as a final expense plan later in life. It covers most or all costs of a funeral, depending on the specific policy that the person purchases from the insurance company. They know that there is no Medicare coverage for funeral costs.


  1. Social Security Lump Sum Death Payment, Benefits.
  2. If You Are the Survivor, Social Security.
  3. Survivor Benefits, Social Security.
  4. Report a Death, Medicare.