America’s Veterans deserve honored places to rest, whether they die in action or at home surrounded by loved ones. That’s why Veteran family members can and should pursue Veterans burial benefits. These provide financial assistance to cover the cost of funerals and associated expenses. Burying a loved one is never easy, but you can rely on the VA for important assistance in these trying times.
Furthermore, Veterans may be able to take advantage of burial benefits for their own loved ones’ funerals. Today, let’s explore everything you need to know about Veterans burial benefits in detail.
First, all honorably discharged Veterans are eligible for free burial at a national cemetery. Eligibility for a free burial at a national cemetery is limited to:
There are over 150 national cemeteries that qualify for this free burial benefit. Burial processes begin with verifying the eligibility of the deceased.
However, there is one exception to the above benefit: Arlington National Cemetery. Only active-duty military personnel, former prisoners of war, military retirees, and Purple Heart recipients or recipients of other top awards are eligible for burial at Arlington.
However, US Veterans and their family members may qualify for other death-related benefits should they choose to be buried at a private cemetery instead. At the time of writing, the VA pays family members of eligible deceased Veterans a certain amount of money for burial at a private cemetery and funds for additional costs.
The primary benefit is partial reimbursement for private cemetery burial expenses. For any Veteran deaths prior to September 11, 2001, the deceased’s family can receive up to $1500. For Veteran deaths on or after September 11, 2001, the deceased’s family can receive up to $2000.
Note that for service-related death benefits, eligibility requirements are somewhat strict. These requirements include:
For a full list of burial benefits qualifications, visit the official government benefits website.
The VA also provides monetary awards to the families of Veterans who died while no longer in active service.
Specifically, the VA pays immediate family members such as spouses or surviving children up to $796 for burial and funeral home expenses for any Veterans who died on or after October 1, 2019. Alternatively, the VA pays $300 toward burial and funeral expenses, plus a $796 plot interment allowance, for Veterans who died while not hospitalized by the VA at the time of their death.
The VA provides up to $300 for burial and funeral expenses, plus a $300 burial allowance, for eligible Veterans whose time of death was on or after December 1, 2001, and before October 1, 2011.
The VA provides up to $300 for burial and funeral expenses for Veterans who died on or after April 1, 1988, and before October 1, 2011, for any Veterans who the VA hospitalized at the time of their death.
In addition to monetary Veterans burial benefits, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and US government provide certain additional benefits to the families of deceased, honorably discharged Veterans.
First, all Veterans who qualify for VA burial benefits also qualify for access to eligible National Cemetery gravesites. Family members can schedule a burial at one of these gravesites with the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemeteries.
Note that VA national cemetery and state Veterans cemetery burials could be limited by availability and schedules. You can fill out a VA form to reserve a government headstone.
Veterans with discharges other than dishonorable are further eligible for certain military honors. These include:
Additionally, the spouse, dependent children, and parents of service members and/or Veterans may be eligible for a variety of survivor benefits awarded by the Veterans Benefits Administration.
VA death benefits are paid to the families of former military service members. Eligibility requirements include:
Only certain individuals can receive the death and burial benefits from the VA or other official government organizations. A deceased Veteran’s living, an eligible spouse is the default recipient for death benefits.
However, if there is no surviving spouse on record, the VA instead pays the benefits to the first living person to file a claim out of the below potential candidates:
The VA classifies any legal union as a formal relationship between the survivor and the decedent. The legal union has to have existed on the date of the Veteran’s death and been recognized by the state in which the relationship was formalized.
Note that the VA does not pay any burial benefits if the deceased individual was either a federal prisoner or a member of Congress who died while holding office. A full list of eligibility requirements for burial benefits can be found on the official VA website.
The VA does not automatically award burial benefits. If you wish to take advantage of these benefits, you must apply online at the official Vets.gov website or submit a paper application to the Pension Management Center for your state.
Alternatively, you can contact your regional benefit office or work with an accredited VA representative.
During the application process, you must submit certain pieces of evidence proving eligibility for US Veterans service and death benefits. These evidence requirements include:
It can be tough to gather all this evidence and make sure it is ready for an application by yourself. The right Veterans law attorney can make sure you have all the necessary evidence to prove that you qualify for burial benefits for your deceased loved one’s funeral and ensure that you receive those benefits quickly.
It’s never easy burying a loved one. However, Veterans burial benefits make the financial burden easier to handle and can help you guarantee that your deceased loved one receives the full honors and awards they deserve for their service to our great country.
Although the above programs can be helpful, it can be difficult to navigate through them or apply for their benefit alone. Berry Law can help you understand what Veterans burial benefits you may qualify for and how to claim those benefits promptly. Contact Berry Law today for a free consultation.
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