Important Information about VA Burial Benefits
Over 1,700 veterans pass away daily, and there is a common belief that the VA pays for all the funeral or cremation arrangements of an honorably discharged veteran. Yet, generally there are little or no veteran government benefits for their funeral or cremation services. While certain monetary, recognition and service benefits may be available, reimbursement for funeral or cremation service expenses is limited and usually only applies to veterans who died because of a service-related disability, or the Veteran was receiving or was entitled to receive a VA pension or compensation at the time of death, or the Veteran died while hospitalized by the VA or while receiving care under contract at a non-VA facility.
You will need documentation, such as the DD214, to verify military service. If this documentation is not available, a request can be sent to the Military National Personnel Record Center. A good funeral provider can help to acquire these documents.
While a flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket, as a standard policy, neither the VA nor the various branches of service provide a free casket for a deceased veteran unless death occurred while on active duty.
Veterans buried in a private cemetery may be eligible to receive a partial reimbursement for their burial costs, and if the death is service-related, benefits up to $2000 may be paid for burial expenses. Based on eligibility, non-service related deaths may receive some reimbursement of funeral expenses, and the funeral provider should be able to provide you will help in acquiring the funding.
Veterans should contact a local funeral provider to learn whether they are eligible for any benefits to help cover the cost of their funeral. If you would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Content provided by Thomas Knox, from Greater Atlanta Dignity Memorial