BENEFITS & ELIGIBILITY

VA Burial and Memorial Benefits

Burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of the 131 national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible for burial allowances. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner, and with the same honors, as casketed remains.

 

Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the veteran, perpetual care, and inscription on the veteran’s headstone of the spouse’s or dependent’s name, date of birth, and death. Eligible spouses and dependents may be eligible for burial benefits even if they predecease the veteran. These benefits are also available for veterans or eligible family members at private cemeteries.

 

Who is eligible for benefits?

To be eligible, you must be a veteran discharged or separated from active duty under conditions “other than dishonorable” and have completed the required period of service. U.S. Armed Forces members who die on active duty are also eligible, as are spouses and dependent children of eligible living and deceased veterans, and of current and deceased armed forces members. Contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at (800) 827-1000 for more information.

 

How do you apply?

Veterans benefits are not paid automatically. It is your responsibility to contact the Veterans Administration. To ensure prompt handling of your claim, have the following information ready:

  • Social Security number for yourself and your dependent children
  • Certified copy of original DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty)
  • Certified copy of Death Certificate
  • Verification of the life insurance amount you will receive as a result of the veteran’s death
  • Paid receipts for hospital and doctor bills incurred by last illness, if applicable
  • Paid receipts for funeral and cemetery expenses
  • If either yourself or the veteran was previously married, provide a certified copy of the original divorce decree or death certificate proving the previous marriage was dissolved by divorce or death
  • If there are dependent children, you will need an original birth certificate for each child under 18 or over 18 if full-time student
  • If over 18 and still in school, you will need to fill out VA Form 21-674
  • If you, or the veteran, receive Social Security Benefits, the exact amount must be reported
  • If you already have a VA claim number, you must furnish the claim number you have been assigned
  • If you, or the veteran, receive additional income, the source and exact amount must be reported

Reimbursement of Burial Expenses

VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the veteran’s death is service connected. VA also will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a service-disabled veteran to the national cemetery nearest the home of a deceased that has available gravesites. In such cases, the person who bore the veteran’s burial expenses may claim reimbursement from the VA. The VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral expense allowance for veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled to compensation but for receipt of military retirement pay. Eligibility also is established when death occurs in a VA facility or a nursing home with which VA contracted. Additional costs of transportation of the remains may be reimbursed. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims of service connected deaths. In other deaths, claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation. The VA will pay a $300 plot allowance when the veteran is not buried in a cemetery that is under U.S. Government jurisdiction if the veteran is discharged from active duty because of disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty, if the veteran was in receipt of compensation or pension or would have been in receipt of compensation but for receipt of military retired pay, or if the veteran died while hospitalized by VA. The plot allowance is not payable solely on wartime service. If the veteran is buried without charge for the cost of a plot or interment in a state owned cemetery reserved solely for veteran burials, the $300 plot allowance may be paid to the state. Burial expenses paid by the deceased’s employer or a state agency will not be reimbursed.

 

More information on burial and memorial benefits may be found at www.cem.va.gov