Expected to Work/Barriers to Full Employment Policy & Procedures

Published Date: July 21, 2014
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09 Non-Continuous Needs

Funeral Benefits

AUTHORITY

ISTHB Regulation, Schedule 4, Section 25
BFE/ETW & Full-Time Learners Ministerial Order: Section 24, Schedules 1, 2, 3 and 4

INTENT

To ensure deceased persons are given a proper burial or cremation where the estate or responsible survivors are unable to pay for funeral services.

POLICY

Funeral benefits are delivered by Common Service Delivery (CSD). Applications for funeral benefits are submitted by the funeral home to the Alberta Supports Contact Centre (ASCC) at CSD. Family or Estate Administrators should contact the funeral home to discuss the funeral benefit.

Funeral homes that contact IS worksites should be referred to:

Telephone 780‑638‑4443 in Edmonton; outside Edmonton call toll-free 1‑855‑638‑4443

Fax 780‑643‑9228 in Edmonton, or toll free 1‑855‑643‑9228 outside Edmonton

Original forms can be mailed to:

Funeral Benefits
Alberta Supports Contact Centre
4th floor, 10405 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 4R7

Human Services provides basic funeral services for indigent persons who die or are transported to Alberta for a burial. Basic funeral services are provided for under an Agreement with funeral homes in Alberta.

A funeral home that agrees to provide this service must:

A list of approved funeral homes and the Agreement services, terms and conditions must be reviewed prior to funeral service authorization.

The Agreement contains:

  • All applicable definitions, such as: indigent, estate, responsible survivor, and basic funeral services.
  • Funeral home services and responsibilities.
  • Specific details about what is covered.
  • The rates IS pays for basic funeral services.

Human Services pays only for the goods and services specified in the funeral Schedule of Fees. The funeral home business and Human Services workers should become familiar with the terms and conditions of the Agreement.

The following documents are required prior to authorization and processing of funeral benefits:

  1. A completed AEHB 2563A Application/Invoice for Funeral Expenses from the funeral home.
  2. A completed AEHB 2598 Request for Estimate – Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit.

If a body is to be transported outside Alberta but within Canada, the ASCC Manager must approve the application. Transporting of a body outside of Canada is not authorized.

Eligibility
Eligibility is based on the financial resources available in the estate of the deceased, which includes but is not limited to:

  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit
  • Cash or bank accounts of the deceased
  • Final OAS/GIS or CPP and other pension cheques
  • Property which may be sold by the estate or borrowed against to cover funeral costs
  • Last Post Fund if the deceased was an Armed Forces veteran
  • Debts owed to the estate
  • Section B insurance benefit if death was caused by an insured motor vehicle
  • Life insurance policy

If the combined available resources with applicable cash/liquid asset exemptions are enough to pay for basic funeral costs, Human Services does not cover the funeral expenses.

Note
If the amount of the CPP death benefit is insufficient to cover the total cost of the funeral, then it is not used as a financial resource/deduction to offset the total funeral cost. Human Services has a shared service agreement with Service Alberta for the collection of debts owed to Human Services, including the collection of CPP Death Benefits.

If there is a responsible survivor (legal spouse/partner, legal parent of a child under 18 years old or a sponsor of an immigrant), the income and assets of the responsible survivor are considered as a potential resource. Human Services does not pay any funeral expenses if the responsible survivor refuses to pay or refuses to provide the information substantiating their inability to pay. Responsible survivors are not allowed to top-up or enhance any funeral services including basic funeral benefits Human Services provides.

If the responsible survivor has non-exempt resources, then Human Services will pay the difference between the basic funeral services rates as specified in the Agreement and any non-exempt assets and income of the responsible survivor.

Only the excess cash/liquid assets and income of the responsible survivor after exemption may be used to offset the basic funeral expenses. The exemptions are as follows:

  • $1,500 cash/liquid assets for a responsible survivor without dependants or
  • $2,500 cash/liquid assets for a responsible survivor with dependants and
  • $5,000 equity in vehicle(s) and
  • a home of reasonable value for the community in which the responsible survivor lives and
  • $1,000 income for a responsible survivor without dependants or
  • $2,500 income for a responsible survivor with dependants

    Note
    If a responsible survivor is receiving income support from IS, AISH or Child and Family Services, no income or assets are used when calculating the available resources.

Top Ups, Upgrades or Enhancements to Basic Funeral Services
Responsible survivors (legal spouse/partner, legal parent of a child under 18 years old or sponsor of an immigrant) are not allowed to enhance the basic funeral benefits IS provides. Any individual or group except for responsible survivors may make a financial contribution toward enhancement of any funeral services. This contribution is not considered a financial resource to off-set the total funeral cost.

Non-responsible survivors are not required to cover the cost of the basic funeral service. However, there may be situations where a non-responsible survivor would like to upgrade the funeral services. In these cases Human Services pays the agreement amount for the basic funeral service and the non-responsible survivor pays the difference. For example, a request for an upgrade to the casket is considered if the non-responsible survivor agrees to pay the difference.

Special Groups
Occasionally, unique situations arise which may not be clearly identified in the Agreement and which may require consultation with Income Support Policy at 780‑422‑3188. Some unique situations are outlined below.

Person with No Next of Kin
The Public Trustee must be notified if the deceased has an estate. The Public Trustee will take appropriate action, which may include a request for Human Services to cover funeral costs. If there is no apparent estate, no contact is made with the Public Trustee.

Public Trustee Clients
The Public Trustee has an agreement with the funeral homes for funeral services at higher rates than the Human Services agreement. When the Public Trustee administers an estate that is not large enough to pay for a funeral at these higher rates, the Public Trustee will confirm the amount available in the estate and ask the ASCC to arrange for payment of the funeral.

The amount of the estate is not used as a deduction to offset the total funeral costs. Human Services through their shared service agreement with Service Alberta will collect the cost of the estate funds from the Public Trustee. Service Alberta must be advised by the Human Services worker that the funeral is a Public Trustee funeral so that collection can occur.

Registered/Status First Nations People
If the deceased person has Registered Status under the Indian Act, their Band is responsible for all associated funeral costs. If the deceased was living off reserve, the appropriate Band will be asked to pay for the funeral. If the Band refuses, and the person is deemed indigent, Human Services will provide basic funeral expenses.

Note
A Band may not provide enhancement to funeral goods or services; if the Band wants to contribute to the funeral costs, that contribution must be deducted from the costs to be paid by Human Services.

If the deceased person belongs to an out-of-province reserve and the Band refuses funds for funeral costs but wishes the deceased be returned for burial, Human Services pays basic funeral and essential transportation only. The receiving province/territory/Band pays for the burial.

Learners and Their Dependants
When funeral benefits are requested for a deceased Learner or their dependants (spouse/partner or children), the request is referred immediately to the ASCC. The ASCC follows standard policy and procedures to provide the funeral benefits as expediently as possible.

Requests for Disposal of Human Remains
Under the Funeral Act, the Minister of Human Services is designated as the last resort to authorize the disposal of human remains, when no responsible survivor can be located, and no other government body has responsibility for the decision. The Executive Director, Employment and Financial Program Policy is delegated the Minister’s responsibility for these rare requests. Requests must be referred to Income Support Policy at 780‑422‑3188.

Unidentified Deceased Persons
In a rare instance when the identity of a deceased person is not known, Human Services provides basic funeral services in the name of Jane or John DOE. ASCC arranges payment for the funeral and burial only. Cremation must not be authorized. For inquiries in these cases, contact Income Support Policy at 780‑422‑3188.

Children in Care Under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act
The Child and Family Services Delivery Division of Human Services is responsible for the cost of a funeral if a child dies while in the custody or guardianship of the Director, Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.

Standard Application Procedures

The funeral home:

  1. Completes section 1-4 of the AEHB 2563A Application/Invoice for Funeral Expenses with the estate administrator and/or responsible survivor if it appears that the deceased may be indigent and if the funeral home has a signed agreement with Human Services.
    • Refers the responsible survivor, estate administrator or next of kin to the ASCC
      Note
      If the funeral home does not have a signed agreement with GoA contact Income Support Policy at 780‑422‑3188.
  2. Completes the AEHB 2598 Request for Estimate-Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit with the deceased's responsible survivor/next of kin and sends it with the AEHB 2563A Application/Invoice for Funeral Expenses to the ASCC.
  3. Copies ID of the deceased, when available, for the ASCC and faxes it along with the AEHB 2563A and the AEHB 2598 to the ASCC.
  4. Awaits confirmation of payment authorization from a Human Services worker prior to proceeding with funeral services.

The Human Services worker:

    1. Reviews the AEHB 2563A Application/Invoice for Funeral Expenses to determine if sections 1-4 on the application have been completed according to the terms of the agreement and the declaration has been signed.
    2. Ensures the AEHB 2598 Request for Estimate – Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit has been completed by the funeral service business and faxes it to the CPP program.
        Note
        The maximum CPP Death Benefit for any Canadian is $2500. If funeral costs are expected to be over $2,500, the worker should not wait for confirmation of the CPP Death Benefits before authorizing funeral benefits.
    3. Reviews the approved funeral home listing to ensure the funeral business is an approved vendor.

    4. Completes the AEHB 2563B Funeral Benefits Eligibility Determination working copy of the application in consultation with the party applying for funeral benefits:

      • calculates the total resources available to offset funeral costs excluding the CPP death benefit (if less than the cost of the funeral)
      • deducts the amount paid by the estate and/or responsible survivor(s) from the Total Funeral Costs (A) identified on the AEHB 2563A

    5. Completes section 5 and 6 of the AEHB 2563A application if the deceased is eligible and enters the amount approved in box (B).

    6. Sends the funeral home a copy of the signed and department authorized AEHB 2563A Application/Invoice for Funeral Expenses.

    7. Sets the Cheque Release flag to N in LISA, enters comment “Client deceased” with date and ASCC worker’s name if deceased was single and had active IS file.
    8. Registers the deceased on CCD if no active IS file exists.

    9. Completes the EMP 3428 Income Support Application leaving the client signature section blank if there is no estate administrator to sign on behalf of the deceased if no active IS file exists.

    10. Creates a file on LISA if no active IS file exists.

    11. Uses Client Type 82 as applicable.

    12. Records summary information in Mobius Notes.

    13. If the deceased was a member of a household with active IS status, sends the death certificate to the appropriate worksite for the client file.

    Procedure for Collection of CPP Death Benefit and Reimbursement from the Public Trustee:
    CPP provides a one-time death benefit to the estate of a contributor for the costs associated with a funeral. If there is no estate, the person or party responsible for the funeral expenses is eligible to receive the death benefit.

    Human Services has a shared service agreement with Service Alberta for the collection of debts owed to Human Services, including the collection of CPP Death Benefits and estate funds that may be available through the Public Trustee.

    In all cases when Human Services pays for the funeral and there is an apparent CPP Death Benefit available or estate funds held by the Public Trustee, Human Services staff:

    1. Compile the following information:

      • Name, SIN, file number and date of death
      • AEHB 2563A Application/Invoice for Funeral Expenses
      • AEHB 2598 Request for Estimate – Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit
      • Death certificate (copy)
      • Birth certificate (copy) or a copy of other personal identification that verifies the birth date of the deceased (e.g., health card, driver’s license, EMP 3428 Income Support Application signed by the client).

    2. And forward, via interoffice mail or fax, the complete package of information within one working day after approval of funeral benefits to:
    Mail to:
    Service Alberta
    Collection Unit
    PO Box 11417
    Edmonton AB T5J 3E4
    Fax:
    780‑644‑2132
    Workers should ensure the applicant is aware that they are signing over the CPP Death Benefit to the GoA and that they could be subject to collections by Service Alberta if the CPP Death Benefit is paid out to the applicant in error.

    Procedure for Authorization to Transport a Body Outside Alberta Within Canada
    If the body is to be transported over 50 km, the ASCC Manager signs the AEHB 2563A Application/Invoice for Funeral Expenses and adds in the Comments box in section 6 the following wording:

    “Prior approval given to transport body from
    ________________ to ________________