VA burial benefits assist families in shouldering the costs of burying their loved ones with dignity and care. Benefit levels vary, depending on when and how veterans pass away.
They are also influenced by where the veteran is to be buried and what other sources of support, if any, families have in affording funeral and burial services. Families are not eligible for benefits it a veteran was dishonorably discharged from military service.
The veterans burial benefits program was significantly updated in 2014 to streamline the application and benefits payments processes. As of July 2014, families no longer need to provide receipts for funeral and burial related expenses and await reimbursement. Under the new processes, eligible families receive standardized electronic payments in set amounts, regardless of their actual costs. To further increase convenience and access, VA funeral benefits applications can be submitted online, as well as in person or by mail.
A family is eligible for veterans funeral benefits if they have paid for the veterans’ funeral and/or burial out-of-pocket. Families cannot receive VA reimbursement for expenses paid by other government agencies, insurance companies or third parties such as the deceased’s workplace. Applicants are also ineligible for veterans burial benefits if the veteran was:
Families can receive VA funeral benefits if a veteran:
Families applying for VA funeral benefits must supply the VA with documentation of a veteran’s death, their eligibility for benefits and the expenses associated with the funeral and burial. If any portions of the funeral or burial services were paid for by insurance or third parties, applicants must provide that information as well.
By law, applicants may submit any of the following with their veterans burial benefits applications as proof of death:
In rare occasions where none of the above are available, families seeking VA death burial benefits for a spouse or parent may be permitted to submit affidavits or other documentation instead.
In addition to evidence of death, families must also submit evidence of the costs associated with the funeral, any discounts, credits or third payments against those costs, and the total balances remaining to be paid, where applicable. In most cases, funeral directors and cemetery owners can provide comprehensive statements to this effect upon request.
Since the 2014 program overhaul, veterans funeral benefits have been paid out in automated, flat-rate allowances. Families of veterans and service members who passed away for service-related reasons may receive the following VA burial benefits:
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Families of veterans or service members whose deaths were not service-related may be eligible for the following VA funeral benefits:
Veterans funeral benefits and interment allowances are cost-adjusted annually.
Families can apply for veterans funeral benefits online, in person or by mail:
Regardless of the methods by which they choose to apply, applicants will need to submit all required information before benefits requests can be processed.
Families of deceased veterans often have questions about non-benefits aspects of arranging veterans funerals. These may include appropriate use and application of flags and other symbols, inquires about headstones and other markers and VA life insurance claims. Generally, families should direct all non-benefits questions to the National Cemetery Administration rather than the VA. However, PMC-authorized representatives may also be able to assist families with veterans burial planning questions and processes.
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