How to Apply for Veterans Burial Allowance

How to Apply for Veterans Burial Allowance

Veterans burial allowances are monetary payments made to veterans’ families to help with burial and funeral expenses. The VA will pay a varied amount depending on whether the death was determined to be service-related or not and if the veteran was hospitalized at the time of death.

When planning your funeral or memorial, it is wise to know what benefits are available to family members of veterans or military service members.

This quick guide will explain some of the basics about the Veterans burial allowance.

Related Article: Best Life Insurance for Veterans and Active Military

What Is the Veterans Burial Allowance?

VA burial allowances are one-time monetary benefits granted at the maximum amount allowed by law for an eligible Veteran’s burial and funeral expenses. In 2014, a VA regulation update made it easier to compensate qualifying survivors quickly and effectively.

Upon news of a Veteran’s death, eligible surviving spouses of record are immediately reimbursed without the need to file a claim. If a claim for these benefits is received, VA may issue additional benefits, such as the plot or interment allowance and transportation allowance to a qualifying Veteran.

A veteran’s family may be reimbursed for burial expenses at a private cemetery.

What Benefits Are Included With the Veterans Burial Allowance

Veterans are entitled to the following burial benefits:

  • For burial and funeral expenditures, the VA provides a burial allowance.
  • A VA plot or interment allowance is available for the expense of the plot (gravesite) or interment.
  • Transportation compensation from the Veterans Administration for the cost of transporting the veterans remains to their final resting place.

Note: You will have to pay these services or other costs first before applying for an allowance.

In a VA National Cemetery or Arlington National Cemetery, interment is free. In addition, some states and tribes provide veterans and their families with free or inexpensive burials in veteran cemeteries.

All deceased veterans are also entitled to grave markers, burial flags, an honor ceremony, and a letter from the President of the United States.

Also Read: Complete Guide to Your VA Benefits

Who Is Eligible for VA Burial Benefits?

You may qualify for Veterans burial allowances if you do not receive reimbursement from any other organization, such as another government agency or the Veteran’s employer. However, you must also follow the requirements outlined below.

Your relationship with the veteran can be described by one of these roles or relationships:

  • You are the Veteran’s surviving spouse ( VA recognizes same-sex marriages).
  • Survivor of a legal union (a legal relationship recognized by the state), or
  • If you are the surviving child of a veteran
  • You’re a parent of the Veteran, or
  • Executor or administrator of the Veteran’s estate (officially representing the Veteran)

Additionally, for VA Burial Allowances to be available, at least one of the following conditions must be met:

  • A service-related disability caused the veteran’s death.
  • Veteran receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of the death, OR
  • While entitled to VA pensions or settlement, the veteran chose not to reduce their military retirement or disability pay, OR
  • The veteran died while in VA-run facilities or receiving VA-approved care at a facility other than VA.
  • A veteran died while traveling at VA expense to or from an examination, treatment, or care place, OR
  • A veteran died at a state-approved nursing home on or after October 9, 1996.
  • Veterans who died with outstanding original or reopened claims were eligible for compensation or pension for a period before the date of death.

How to Apply for the Veterans Burial Allowance

Documents Needed

Copies of the following documents are required:

  • Military discharge papers for the Veteran (DD214 or other separation documents)
  • Death certificate of a veteran
  • Any receipts or paperwork you have for the cost of transferring the Veteran’s body
  • A statement of account should include the following information (ideally on the funeral director’s or cemetery’s letterhead):
    • Name of the Veteran, and
    • The sort of service or item that was purchased, as well as
    • Any acknowledgments, and
    • The outstanding debt

Time Limit for Filing

Non-service-connected burial allowance applications must be submitted within two years of burial or cremation of the Veteran.

An allowance claim must be filed within two years of a Veteran’s honorable discharge being upgraded to another status.

A service-connected burial, site, or interment allowance has no time limit.

Where to Apply

To get assistance, contact your funeral director, local VA office or call the VA at 800-827-1000.

Must Read: Best Life Insurance Companies for Veterans

Spousal Application for Veterans Burial Allowance

As long as you’re listed on the Veteran’s profile as the Veteran’s spouse, you do not need to apply for a surviving spouse claim. Upon notification of a Veteran’s death, the VA automatically pays a certain sum to eligible surviving spouses to help pay for burial plots, interment costs, and cemetery transport.

  • Veterans’ spouses may be buried in a national cemetery, regardless of whether the veteran is buried or memorialized there. Additionally, an active military member’s spouse or surviving spouse who cannot be buried is eligible for burial.
  • Following a subsequent remarriage to a non-veteran and dying on or after January 1, 2000, a spouse of an eligible veteran is eligible to be buried in a national cemetery.

Related: Benefits for Surviving Spouses and Families of Veterans

What Are the Burial Allowance Amounts

The maximum allowances for veterans differ depending on how and where they pass. The latest allowances are listed below.

Death Benefits for Service-Connected Deaths

  • Veterans who died after September 11, 2001, would receive $2,000 for their loss.
  • The soldier’s family buried in a VA national cemetery may be reimbursed for some or all of the costs of transferring their loved one.

Death Benefits for Non-service-Related Deaths

  • If the veteran died after October 1, 2020, they would be eligible for a $300 funeral allowance and $807 cemetery plot.

Maximum Allowances for a Death Not Related to Service if the Veteran Was in a VA Hospital at the Time of Death

  • Veterans who passed away on or after October 1, 2020, are entitled to an $807 burial allowance and an $807 cemetery plot.
  • Families of veterans who die in a VA-contracted hospital or nursing facility may be reimbursed for moving expenses.

Maximum Allowance for Headstones and Markers

The Veteran will receive $236 if they die on or after October 1, 2019.

For a detailed listing, visit this VA webpage.

Related: What the VA Does and Doesn’t Cover

Can the Benefit Be Paid Directly to a Funeral Home

Veterans burial allowance benefits are reimbursed by the VA rather than being paid directly to a provider or any funeral home. Therefore, families must first pay for the funeral or burial before submitting a request with receipts. For the VA to process a family’s reimbursement request and issue the check, it typically takes up to six months.

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