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Article: When You Can’t Afford a Funeral

When You Can’t Afford a Funeral

Table of Contents
  1. When You Can’t Afford a Funeral


sketch of stick figures carrying a casket

It’s not unusual to avoid thinking about your death or a loved one’s death. The unintended result, however, is that you may not adequately plan for payment of your funeral, burial, or cremation. When a person has not prepaid for funeral services and has not set aside enough money to cover the expenses of those services after death, there is another option in Wisconsin: the Wisconsin Funeral and Cemetery Aids Program (WFCAP).


The Benefit:

The benefit is actually payable to funeral/burial/cremation service providers – not the deceased person or family member. If an eligible person died and his or her estate does not have the money necessary to pay all expenses, the service provider may be paid up to $1,000 for cemetery/crematory expenses and up to $1,500 for funeral/burial expenses (for a total of $2,500).


Eligibility Requirements:

The deceased person must have been eligible for one of the following benefits at the time of death:

• BadgerCare+ (some restrictions apply);

• Categorically needy EBD Medicaid (but not MAPP);

• Categorically or medically needy institutional Medicaid;

• Home and Community-Based Waiver recipient (including IRIS, Family Care, & COP);

• Federal and/or State SSI or SSI Medicaid; or

• Medicaid deductible (once the deductible has been met). If the deceased person was eligible for one of the above benefits but not actually receiving them/enrolled at the time of death, the representative of the estate may still apply for benefits after his or her death if the program permits post-death applications.


Other Things to Consider:

• Only funeral homes and cemeteries/crematoriums can submit WFCAP applications, and they must do so within 1 year of the date of death. (Families cannot apply on their own.)

• In order to receive any benefit amount, the total funeral/burial costs cannot exceed $4,500 and the total cemetery/crematory costs cannot exceed $3,500.

• Payments are made to the service provider only, and only to an outstanding balance. This benefit will not reimburse anyone for funeral costs already paid.

• Service providers must make a reasonable effort to locate all other funding sources before submitting an application, which now includes life insurance policies where the deceased person is named as the insured.

For more information, see the WFCAP Manual:


By the GWAAR Legal Services Team, 2017

Last Updated on 5/16/2017