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Thank you for visiting our website, If you have any concerns or questions, please give us a call at 1-800-521-VETS (8387)
IN OUR NATION OVER 1,000 VETERANS PASS AWAY EACH DAY.
Less than 10% of take advantage of their entitlements at a national cemetery. Many veterans unnecessarily purchase private cemetery property only because they are unaware of their burial benefits through Veterans Affairs.
As a veteran you may qualify for Burial Benefits at no cost to your family. These benefits include:
- Grave site in any VA National Cemetery with available spaces
- Opening and closing of the grave
- Headstone or Grave Marker
- Military Funeral Honors
- Burial Flag
- Presidential Memorial Certificate
- Perpetual care of the grave site
- An allowance for other funeral (to be claimed at time of death)
- Monies to offset transportation cost to the National Cemetery (to be claimed at time of death)
- Plot allowance for a grave site outside a National Cemetery (to be claimed at time of death)
PLEASE NOTE: There are no government-contracted mortuaries. This means a veteran and veteran families are solely responsible for retaining and paying for the services of a private mortuary. These services can be arranged before death occurs. Most mortuaries that offer "Advance Planning" usually also offer financing. These services are required before arrival and burial at a national cemetery.
The emotional and financial impact of death makes it difficult for loved ones. This is why the Department of Veterans Affairs recommends "Advance Planning" of Mortuary & Funeral Services.
The Funeral Director or Memorial Counselor Expert at the mortuary you choose can also assist you with your veterans benefits.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR BURIAL IN A VA NATIONAL CEMETERY?
Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces in addition to veterans who;
- Meet minimum active service duty
- Widows or Widowers of Veterans
- Minor children
- Unmarried adult children (under certain circumstances) if they pre-decease the veteran. A copy of your DD-214 will be needed to file a claim for your benefits. A copy should be obtained (Mortuary clerk can apply at time of need) prior to the time of need. Copies may be obtain from:
The National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records Office
9700 Page Blvd
St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5100
GOVERNMENT HEADSTONE OR GRAVE MARKER
A grave marker (memorial tablet) is provided for the veteran's grave in a private, a public or a national cemetery at no cost to the family. We suggest that if burial will be in a private cemetery and a government headstone or marker will be requested for the veteran's grave, that the family complete in advance, (Mortuary clerk can apply at time of need). VA Form 40-1330, Appreciation for Standard Government headstone or Marker for Installation in a Private or State Veterans cemetery, and place it with the veteran's military discharge papers for use at the time of need.
U.S. BURIAL FLAG PROGRAM
Most veterans are eligible for a United States Burial Flag. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Flags may be obtained from the VA Regional Office and most U.S. Post Offices. These flags are usually issued to the mortuary or funeral home for use in the veteran's burial services. After the services the flag is presented to the family.
MILITARY FUNERAL HONORS CEREMONY
The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing military funeral honors. The DOD program, "Honoring Those Who Served", calls for funeral directors to request these honors on behalf of the veterans' families. The ceremony includes the folding and presentation of the US flag and the playing of "Taps". This is performed by Military Funeral Honors detail or by electronic recording. Veterans organizations may assist in the provision of military funeral honors.
Formal funeral services are not held at national cemeteries but a final committal service may be performed. For safety reasons these services are held in committal shelters located away from the graveside. Burial will take place following the committal service. Immediate family members may be allowed to view the actual burial only if arrangements have been made in advance with the cemetery director. National cemeteries do not usually conduct burial on weekends or on federal holidays.
PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATE
Initiated in March 1962, a "Presidential Memorial Certificate" is an engraved paper certificated, signed by the current President to honor the memory of the honorably discharged deceased veteran. Eligible recipients of the certificated included the deceased veteran's next of kin and loved ones. Eligible recipient or someone acting on their behalf, may apply in person at any VA Regional office, or by U.S. Mail.
If the death of the veteran was service-related or if the death occurred while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing-home care, the VA will reimburse some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased.
Each claim toward a veteran's estate is going to require a certified copy of the death certificate. The mortuary will provide certified death certificates for a state required county fee of $12.00 per copy (2010). Veterans Service Representatives and County Veterans Affairs Officers can also provide additional certified copies at no charge.
WAS THE VETERAN EVER A UNION MEMBER?
If the veteran was ever a union member, call the local office of the union and report the death. Ask if there are any death benefits for past union members.
NOTIFICATION OF THE LAST EMPLOYER
Notify the veteran's last major employer of the death of the veteran.
A NON-SERVICE CONNECTED PENSION (NSC)
A NSC pension may be payable to widows or widowers and totally dependent-adult children or minor children of the deceased veteran under certain circumstances. Families should consult the nearest County VA Service Office or their local service organization office.
PRIVATE or PUBLIC CEMETERY PROPERTY (PLOT ALLOWANCE)
The VA can pay $150.00 toward a private cemetery plot if the family chooses to purchase in a private or public cemetery. The VA does not pay for or reimburse the full expense of a private gravesite. Usually the cemetery office will apply for this benefit on behalf of the family.
OTHER CEMETERY, MORTUARY & FUNERAL EXPENSES REIMBURSEMENT
Non-Service Related Death: The VA can pay up to $300.00 toward cemetery, mortuary and funeral expense when death occurs in a VA medical center, a VA contracted nursing home or if the deceased veteran was receiving or eligible to receive VA pension or compensation. Contact your local VA Office to verify eligibility.
Service Related Death The VA will pay up to $2,000.00 toward cemetery expenses.
SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
The Social Security Administration benefit to a spouse, adult dependent or minor child is a single lump sum $255.00. Your local Social Security office will determine the actual amount when you file the claim.
DOCUMENTS TO BE TAKEN TO THE MORTUARY
- Copy of the Veteran's Military Discharge (DD-214) Download Form SF-180
- Copy of the Veteran's Marriage Certificate
FOR ASSISTANCE FILING VETERAN DEATH BENEFIT CLAIMS
Veterans Affairs Regional Offices:
Department of Veterans Affairs
National Cemetery Administration (41C2)
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
You can apply for veterans burial benefits by providing the following documents:
- VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits
- DD-214 proving the veteran's military service & discharge category
- Death Certificate
- Copies of any bills from cemetery, funeral or mortuary expenses paid.
"Day is done, gone the sun, From the hills, from the lake, From the sky.
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
Go to sleep, peaceful sleep, May the soldier or sailor, God keep.
On the land or the deep, Safe in sleep.
Love, good night, Must thou go, When the day, And the night Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all To their rest.
Fades the light; And afar Goeth day, And the stars Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone, Night is on.
Thanks and praise, For our days, 'Neath the sun, Neath the stars, 'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know, God is nigh."
US Veterans Network - 13501 Ranch Rd 12 Ste 103 - Wimberley, TX 78676