Veteran Funeral Benefits

When planning a funeral for a military veteran, evaluate qualification for special veterans death and funeral benefits. Benefits are available to:

Full details and requirements are listed at http://www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil/. Information is also available by calling the Department of Veterans Affairs at 800- 827-1000, or contacting them through their website, http://www.va.gov/

If you qualify for Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security office prior to the Veteran's Administration office.

Before you can file for Veterans Death Benefits, you will need:

Burial Grave in a National Cemetery

Burial in a National Cemetery is available for eligible veterans. The burial benefit includes the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbaria niches for the inurnment of cremated remains, or special sections for burial of cremated remains.

Headstones and Markers for Veterans

Headstones and markers for the graves of veterans and eligible dependents are available anywhere in the world for graves that are not already marked. The marker is consistent with the styles permitted by the cemetery or memorial garden and include flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble, and upright marble types. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria in national cemeteries.

Veteran Burial at Sea

Burial at sea is a common practice, especially for service members who dedicated their life to the Navy. Burial at sea services are performed while a vessel is on official maneuvers; therefore, it is not possible for the family to be present for a burial at sea. The family is notified by the commanding officer of that vessel of the date, time, longitude, and latitude of the committal service. Individuals eligible for this program are members of the uniformed services, veterans discharged under honorable conditions, United States civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command, and dependents of members, retirees, and veterans of the uniformed services.

Burials at Sea embark from one of seven ports that include:

Presidential Memorial Certificate for Veteran's Service

The Presidential Memorial Certificate is a parchment document with a calligraphic inscription expressing the nation's grateful recognition of the veteran's service. The veteran's name is inscribed, and the certificate bears the signature of the President and the presidential seal in gold foil.

Reimbursement of Veteran's Burial Expenses

The United States Government provides a $300 burial and funeral expense allowance for veterans who, at the time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation, or would have been entitled to compensation but for receipt of military retirement pay. Eligibility is also established when death occurs in a Veterans’ Administration facility or a nursing home which the Veterans’ Administration contracted, and additional costs of transportation of the remains may be reimbursed in those cases. Claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation.

United States Burial Flag

The United States Government provides an American flag to drape the casket of a veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. After the funeral service, the flag may be given to the next of kin, or a close associate of the deceased.

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