BUSINESS OFFICE 44-02-009
The Division of Veterans Healthcare Services (DVHS) requires each of the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Homes (VMH) to develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure that every resident has made burial arrangements prior to or immediately after admission to the VMH.
Burial arrangements are to be verified or established at the time of admission by VMH
staff members to assure that the resident will be interred in a dignified manner of their
choice, and that burial costs have been considered and pre-planned by the resident and/or
his/her responsible agent.
Social Services shall:
- Advise the resident and/or responsible agent that burial arrangements are required.
Any burial expenses that have not been pre-paid by the day of admission may be considered as an allowable deduction for up to $12,000 divided equally over 24 months.
- Verify the documentation of any pre-paid burial arrangements (such as revocable or irrevocable trust fund accounts, the New Jersey Funeral Planning CHOICES ™ program, etc.) and determine that the application for admission identifies the appropriate responsible agent for funeral expenses.
- Advise the responsible agent that, without a Surrogates Order, only clothing and/or personal property that was purchased by the resident/responsible agent will be released at the time of the resident’s death.
The Supervisor of Patient Accounts shall:
- Consider and determine the allowable funeral deduction when determining the resident’s care and maintenance fee.
- Not release any valuable assets at the time of death until a Surrogates Order is received. The CEO/designee may allow, on a case-by-case basis, the removal of all the decreased resident’s property or assets by a responsible agent.
The State’s Responsibility for Burial – Indigent Burials
- The State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs will only be considered the last resource for payment of funeral and burial expenses if the resident has no funds to pay for his/her own burial.
- New Jersey Statutes – Title 40A Municipalities and Counties – 40A:9-49.1 – Burial Expenses of Indigents, states:
- Notwithstanding any provision of law, rule or regulation to the contrary, when an indigent person dies in his resident county without a surviving spouse, parent or emancipated child or in a county other than his resident county, the resident county of the indigent decedent is responsible for the necessary and reasonable expenses for the burial. For the purposes of this act, “indigent decedent” means a person who dies without leaving an ascertainable estate sufficient to pay part or all of the person’s burial expenses and whose burial expenses are not payable by the State pursuant to P.L. 1959, c.86 (C.44:10-1 et seq.), P.L. 1947, c.156 (C.44:8-107 et seq.) or P.L. 1973, c.256 (C.44:7-85 et seq.), or by the county pursuant to N.J.S.40A:9-49.
- The New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, Inc., states:
- Burial of Indigents – An indigent is someone who dies without assets and without family or friends to pay for their funeral. All counties in New Jersey are responsible to pay burial costs of indigent, unidentified or unclaimed deceased individuals who resided within their borders prior to death, regardless of the county where the death occurred. Each county sets its own indigent funeral reimbursement rate. The local medical examiner, hospital or nursing home social worker usually contacts the county’s burial coordinator to make arrangements for indigent burials.
- New Jersey Code 38:17-1. Interment of Indigent Veterans states:
- 38:17-1. The board of chosen freeholders in each of the counties shall designate a proper authority, other than that designated by law for the care of paupers and the custody of criminals, who shall cause to be interred the bodies of all honorably discharged soldiers, sailors, marines or nurses who served, or shall have served, in the Army or Navy of the United States in time of emergency, or during any war in which the United
States has been engaged, is engaged or shall be engaged, including the bodies of all honorably discharged members of the American Merchant Marine who served during World War II and have been declared by the United States Department of Defense to be eligible for federal veterans' benefits, who shall die without leaving means sufficient to defray funeral expenses. The expense of such funeral shall not exceed in any case the sum of $250.00.
Such authority shall also, upon application by an interested party, cause to be interred the bodies of members of the Armed Forces of the United States who died in active service during the second World War, or in time of emergency. The expense of such interment shall not in any case exceed the sum of $50.00.
As used in this act the term "in time of emergency" shall mean and include any time (a) after June 23, 1950, and prior to January 31, 1955, and (b) during the period in which warlike conditions exist in the southeast Asia area commencing as of January 1, 1961 and terminating on May 7, 1975.
For the purposes of this act active service in the "southeast Asia area" means and includes such service in any area in southeast Asia in which armed conflict or warlike conditions exist as determined by the President and includes not only land based service in said area but also service in said area with the United States Navy and Air Force regardless of where the individual's ship or unit is based.
Amended 1945, c.302; 1947, c.175, s.1; 1951, c.136; 1967, c.160; 1991,
- New Jersey Code 38:17-4 Counties Liable for Expenses of Burial states:
- 38:17-4. Counties liable for expenses of burial
The expense of the burial and headstone shall be borne and paid by the county in which the deceased shall be resident at the time of his death.
If in any county there is located a home or other institution for the use, care, shelter and maintenance of such veterans not supported by the county, such county shall not be liable for the burial expenses and headstones of the deceased, unless the deceased was a bona fide resident of such county at the time of his admission to such home or institution, but the county in which he was resident at the time of his admission to such home or institution shall defray, bear and pay the cost of such burial and headstones.
- The Director of Social Services in each VMH shall direct that the following County office be contacted to pay for the burial of an indigent resident:
- Bergen County –
The Bergen County Board of Social Services
Funeral-Burial Support Program
216 Route 17 North
Rochelle Park, New Jersey 07662
- Middlesex County –
The County of Middlesex
Division of Social Work Services
75 Bayard Street, 5th Floor
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
FAX (732) 745-7971
- Cumberland County -
The Cumberland County Board of Social Services
275 North Delsea Drive
Vineland, New Jersey 08360
FAX (856) 692-7635
- Any funds of the deceased resident, held in a members account, shall first be applied toward the expenses incurred for funeral and burial costs prior to the balance being released to the deceased resident’s estate (upon receipt of a Surrogates Order).
Revised: June 2011
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