All military force veterans are accorded the benefit of having a decent and honorable memorial, funeral or burial as a token of tribute for their sacrifice in serving the United States. This section will give your insight on the benefits and privileges given to passing veterans. It is also highly recommended that spouses, beneficiaries and remaining family members of the veterans go through this section, as they are the ones to make arrangements and apply for the benefits when a veteran passes.
This is the first thing that has to be planned for in the event of a veteran’s death. The surviving family members will have to think about the place, time and cost of burial for their deceased loved one. To make this transition process a bit bearable, the Veteran can plan for his burial using the available VA burial benefits before they pass or optionally the remaining family members can plan for their loved one’s transition using the several burial programs available.
NATIONAL CEMETERY BENEFITS
The burial benefits are inclusive of the provision of a grave site in any available national cemetery. The benefits extended also include the opening and closing of the grave, provision of a government marker or headstone, a burial flag, a presidential memorial certificate and continuous care for the grave site. This is offered at no charge. We shall elaborate on the Presidential Memorial Certificate later on.
Cremated remains, which can be placed in an urn, are also buried in national cemeteries and given the same benefits that casketed burial, are given. Visit this site for more details. The VA does not have national cemeteries in all the states, but its National Cemetery Administration manages 131 of these cemeteries in Puerto Rico and 39 states, as well as 33 soldiers’ monument sites and lots. Click here for a complete list of all national cemeteries and here for a list of the State cemeteries.
Spouses and dependents who are buried in national cemeteries are given the benefit of a burial ceremony with the veteran, a headstone inscription of their name, dates of birth and death along the veterans’ and continuous grave site care, all at no charge.
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY BURIAL REQUIREMENTS
For veterans to be eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery he must meet specific requirements outlined below. Please note that this cemetery cannot be booked or requested for before the passing occurs.
- The veteran must be a military force member of the Armed Forces. This is exclusive of military members under training service.
- The veteran is an Armed Forces retiree. However, if the veteran passed before reaching the age where he would be eligible to receive Armed Forces retirement pay, i.e. he died before being entitled to retirement pay, then he would not be eligible to receive allocation for a grave site.
- A Former Armed Forces veteran who, due to his physical disability, was separated before October 1, 1949, and served on military force (except for training) with eligibility for retirement.
- A former Armed Forces veteran whose last military service (except for training) was terminated honorably and had an award in one of the following decorations:
- A distinguished Naval or Air Force Service Cross
- Medal of Honor
- Purple Heart
- Silver Star
- United States Government elective office
- United States Government Office of the chief justice or associate justice of the Supreme Court of the US.
- Any former war prisoner who, while a war prisoner, served respectably in the military, Air or Naval services. His last service period in these areas was terminated honorably, and he passed on or after November 30, 1993.
PRIVATE CEMETERY BURIALS
The benefits given to veterans buried in private cemeteries include the provision of a government marker or headstone, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a burial flag at no charge. Burial allowances may also be given to eligible veterans. The allowances help meet the funeral and internment needs. These benefits are however not given to dependents and spouses buried in private cemeteries.
BURIAL ALLOWANCE BENEFITS
These are partial expense compensations give to eligible veterans to cover the costs for funeral and burial. A maximum of $2,000 is paid by VA to cover burial expenses for passing that is service-related. Expenses incurred while transporting the deceased to a VA national cemetery for burial will either be partially or fully repaid by VA.
A maximum of $3,000 will be given for burial and funeral expenses in the case of a non-service related death of a veteran. A plot interment allowance of $300 will also be given. If the veteran passed while undergoing treatment in a VA hospital or while in a nursing home care contracted by VA, the expenses incurred for transporting the deceased will be repaid either partially or fully. When the death cause is not related to service, the compensations will be given in two payments:
- Burial and funeral cost allowance.
- Burial plot allowance.
You will be eligible to receive VA burial allowance if you meet the following requirements:
- You covered the veteran’s funeral and burial expenses.
- Any government agency, other sources (e.g. the veteran’s employer) has not compensated you for the expenses incurred.
- The discharge of the deceased veteran from service was under honorable conditions.
You must also check if at least one of the following conditions was fulfilled by the deceased:
- A service-related disability caused the veteran’s death
- VA compensation or pension was being paid to the veteran at time of passing
- The veteran decided not to decrease his military disability or retirement pay despite the fact that he was entitled to be given compensation or pension by VA.
- The veteran’s passing happened while he was under care in a VA hospital, a nursing home contracted by VA or in an authorized state nursing home.
For you to apply for the benefits, fill out VA form 21-530. When submitting the form, attach documents supporting the veteran’s military service (DD 214), burial and funeral bills paid and the veteran’s death certificate.