Retired LCDR Carl Jewett
VA-Accredited Claims Agent
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Important Facts About VA Burial Benefits
- Burial and Funeral Reimbursement for veterans who died from a service-connected disability, such as mesothelioma, is $2,000.
- Burial and Funeral Reimbursement for veterans who died from non-service-connected disabilities and were receiving VA Disability Compensation or VA Pension at the time of death is $300 unless the veteran was hospitalized at a VA medical facility, in which the payment is $893.
- A plot or interment allowance for veterans who died from non-service-connected disabilities is $893 unless the veteran is buried or interred at a national cemetery, state veteran’s cemetery or state-owned cemetery.
- All honorably discharged veterans are entitled to Funeral Honors during the funeral ceremony.
Financial Burial Benefits
The VA pays eligible claimants up to $2,000 to help cover the cost of burials and funerals. Eligible recipients of this VA claim include anyone who actually paid the cost of these expenses, even if they are not related to the veteran. Amounts vary depending on whether the veteran’s death was service-connected or whether the veteran was in a VA hospital when they died.
Service-Connected Burial Benefits
When a veteran’s medical condition has been approved by the VA as service-connected – and that veteran dies from that condition – the VA will pay up to $2,000 to offset the cost of the funeral and burial. This benefit is payable regardless of whether the veteran is being buried or cremated.
In cases where the veteran did not file for VA Disability Compensation before their death, but the surviving spouse files and is approved for service-connected Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC), the VA will pay the $2,000 burial benefit.
Non-Service-Connected Burial Benefits
For non-service-connected deaths, the VA will pay $300 for burial and funeral costs to the claimant if the veteran was receiving or entitled to receive either Disability Compensation or VA Pension. If the veteran was hospitalized at a VA medical facility at the time of death, the VA will pay $893 instead of the $300 reimbursement.
For the purpose of the burial benefits, hospitalization in a VA facility means the veteran was:
- Properly admitted to a VA hospital or clinic
- Transferred by the VA to a non-VA facility, nursing home or state nursing home
- In transit from a VA facility to a non-VA facility
- A patient at a State Veterans home
Transportation Cost Reimbursement
For service-connected deaths, claimants can also be reimbursed for costs associated with transporting the veteran’s remains if the veteran is being buried or interred in a national cemetery.
These include costs incurred for transporting the veteran’s remains from the place of death to the funeral home, as well as from the funeral home to the final resting place. An invoice or receipt of payment showing those transportation costs must be submitted with the burial benefits claim in order for this reimbursement to be paid.
Veteran’s burial costs chart
Veteran’s Death Is:
Burial and Funeral Payment
Plot or Interment Payment
Non-service-connected veteran died in VA hospital
|Veteran’s Death is:||Burial and Funeral Payment||Plot or Interment Payment||Transportation Cost Reimbursement||Total|
|Non-service-connected and veteran died in VA hospital||$893||$893||No||$1,786|
* As long as the veteran is buried in a national cemetery
** Plus transportation costs
Funeral Honors for Deceased Veterans
The VA will provide a funeral honors team to render honors during a veteran’s funeral for veterans who meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Being a former or retired member of the United States Armed Forces
- Having served on active duty or in the Selected Reserve
- Having been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable
The funeral honors ceremony typically includes the following elements, although the specific components may vary based on the veteran’s status or the wishes of the family:
- Military Honors Detail – At least two uniformed military personnel are present at the ceremony, with at least one member representing the deceased veteran’s branch of service. The detail may perform a rifle salute, depending on the veteran’s status and the wishes of the family.
- Flag Folding – A United States flag is ceremonially folded by the funeral honors detail and presented to the next of kin as a symbol of the nation’s gratitude for the veteran’s service.
- Playing of Taps – A bugler will play taps at the appropriate moment during the ceremony to honor the fallen veteran. Taps is a traditional military bugle call that signifies the end of the day and is played at military funerals and memorial services.
Headstones, Niche Markers and Medallions
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides headstones, markers and medallions to honor deceased veterans and commemorate their service. These items are available for eligible veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery, a state veteran’s cemetery, or a private cemetery:
- Headstones – The VA offers various types of headstones to suit the specific needs and preferences of the deceased veteran and their family. The available styles include upright headstones and flat markers. These can be made from different materials, such as granite, marble or bronze. The headstone or marker will typically display the veteran’s name, rank, dates of birth and death, and branch of service. Additional information, such as an emblem of religious belief or an inscription, may also be included.
- Niche markers – Niche markers are specifically designed for placement in mausoleums or columbarium niches. They are made of bronze and include the veteran’s name, rank, dates of birth and death, branch of service and an emblem of religious belief. Additional inscriptions may also be added, as space permits.
- Medallions – Bronze medallions are available for veterans with privately purchased headstones or markers. They can be requested by the family when the existing headstone or marker does not have a government-issued emblem or inscription representing the veteran’s military service.
If the cremated remains are interred in a mausoleum or columbarium with a private marker, the family can apply for a VA medallion to be affixed to the existing marker which will display the veteran’s branch of service and the inscription “Veteran.”
Sources & Author
- National Cemetery Administration: Burial Benefits. US Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.cem.va.gov/burial_benefits/. Accessed: 04/19/2023.
- Compensation: Burial Benefits. US Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/claims-special-burial.asp. Accessed: 04/19/2023.
- How to Apply for a Veterans Burial Allowance. US Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/burials-memorials/veterans-burial-allowance/. Accessed: 04/ 20/2023.
- Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, Survivors, and Caregivers. Page 80 Burial and Memorial Benefits. Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. US Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/2023_Federal_Benefits_for_Veterans_Dependents_and_Survivors.pdf. Accessed: 04/20/2023.