Top Five Facts You Should Know About Veterans Funeral and Cemetery Benefits
If you or a loved one served on active duty or in certain reserve branches of the US Armed forces, you may be eligible for a Veteran’s Administration (VA) burial allowance and other benefits as a result of your service to our country.
According to Dorsey Thomas, Location Manager of National Cremation Service’s Atlanta office, “The first question I always get asked is, ‘What are VA benefits?’ So many times, veterans and their families are completely unaware of these benefits until the death has already occurred.”
VA benefits are available to most previous service members. The service member must have been discharged from active military service without dishonorable conditions. There are a number of VA benefits available including assistance with burial or cremation costs and the ability to be interred in a National Cemetery.
The top five questions National Cremation is commonly asked about these benefits include:
What is the VA burial allowance?
The VA burial allowance is a flat rate monetary benefit that is paid by the VA to reimburse families for an eligible Veteran’s burial, cremation and funeral, or memorial costs.
What is the monetary amount of the benefit?
It depends on whether the service member passed away as a result of his or her active duty service, and when the service member passed.
For non-service connected deaths occurring after September 11, 2001:
- The maximum burial allowance ranges from $300 for veterans who were not hospitalized in a VA facility at time of death, to $700 for those who were hospitalized with the VA at time of death.
For service-connected deaths that occurred prior to September 11, 2001:
- The maximum allowance is $1,500, and $2,000 for deaths occurring after that date.
Veterans who will not be interred in a National Cemetery or columbarium are also eligible for an additional $745 benefit for the interment.
How do I or my loved ones claim the benefit?
To claim the benefit, a veteran’s family need only submit VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Allowance along with the death certificate and DD-214 for the deceased veteran. Receipts showing payment of funeral costs do not need to be provided. The allowance is paid as a reimbursement to the veteran’s next of kin for valid burial or funeral costs – cremation and memorial with National Cremation are considered valid and reimbursable for this benefit.
Does the VA provide funerals with military honors?
The VA does not provide funerals with military honors. These are provided by the Department of Defense (DOD), through the “Honoring Those Who Served” program.
Families may request, or ask National Cremation to request on the family’s behalf, a military funeral honors ceremony, including a ceremony with two or more service members, folding and presentation of a United States burial flag and the playing of Taps. These ceremonies can be performed in any private, veterans’, or National Cemetery.
Can veterans be cremated and interred in a National Cemetery?
Yes. To be cremated and interred in a National Cemetery, there are multiple options. Cremated remains may be interred in an in-ground gravesite, placed in a garden niche, or placed in a columbarium, where available.
Learn more about the VA funeral and cremation benefits at: http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/burial_benefits/index.asp
For more information about how to utilize veteran’s funeral and cemetery benefits as part of a preplanned or at-need memorial, please contact a National Cremation representative today.