It is a fact that funeral costs can amount to thousands of dollars, but Honorably discharged veterans can take advantage of the benefits granted to them for burial to help reduce those costs.
Although families may only receive small or partial reimbursements, it brings some financial relief, and veterans receive military honors that include markers, flags, and presidential certificates.
Certain stipulations apply. For example, benefits are allowed if there have been no reimbursements for burial and funeral expenses from another government agency or from other sources, such as the veterans’ employer.
Below are the seven burial benefits granted to Honorably discharged veterans:
1. Reimbursement : The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays on a reimbursement basis for burial and funeral expenses. The one-time payments begin processing when survivors submit receipts for burial and plot or interment allowances.
2. In or out of a VA hospital: If hospitalized by the VA at the time of death, the VA will pay up to $762 toward expenses for burial and funeral or $300 for those expenses if not hospitalized by the VA at the time of death. There is also a $762 plot-interment allowance if not buried in a national cemetery.
3. Service-related deaths: The VA offers up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for service-connected deaths.
4. National cemetery grave site: A grave site at any of the 135 national cemeteries are provided under the VA’s memorial and burial services. Active duty servicemembers, Reservists, and veteran members are eligible for the benefit. Additional benefits include a government headstone or marker, burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate, and perpetual care at no cost to the family.
Survivors of veterans buried at a VA national cemetery are eligible for reimbursement of some or all of the costs for transporting the deceased.
5. Cremation: Cremated remains in national cemeteries are buried or inurned with the same honors as casketed services.
6. Spouses and children: Spouses or minor children of veterans are also entitled to burial at one of the national cemeteries throughout the U.S. Also, dependents are eligible for markers and headstones.
7. Private cemeteries: Veterans buried in private cemeteries may receive headstones and markers, military honors, and Presidential Memorial Certificates at no cost.
Veterans are advised to inform family members about their burial and funeral wishes. It’simportant for family members to know where discharge papers (i.e., DD Form 214) are kept to determine eligibility for the services.