Veterans Burial Benefits

When you’re a spouse or family member of a veteran, you might need to understand the burial benefits you get, if the service member passes away. Veterans and their families are entitled to specific benefits that cover many different things. Family members offer burial benefits to help cover the cost of a funeral, burial, and more.

If your spouse is an active duty service member or a veteran, you should know the VA burial benefits you’re entitled to. Let’s look at the benefits you gain for a national cemetery, a private cemetery, and the other veteran’s burial benefits you can access.

What Type of Burial and Death Benefits are Available to Families of Veterans?

There are several different veterans benefits available for burial and death. While this is certainly not a pleasant topic to discuss, it’s one you should understand. Burial and death benefits can help you in many ways if your active duty service member or veteran has passed. The benefits you can gain vary a bit, but here are the main burial benefits offered to veterans.

Veterans Burial Allowance

The most common VA benefit for death and burial is the burial allowance. It’s sometimes referred to as the Veterans death benefits. This allowance will help cover the funeral, burial, and transportation costs.

If you’re an eligible veteran, you can get a burial allowance for burial and funeral costs, along with a VA plot or an allowance for the cost of a plot in a private cemetery. It’s also possible to get reimbursement for the cost of transporting the Veteran’s remains to the final resting place.

It’s important to note that you will have to pay for these services and apply for the burial allowance to reimburse you. This must be done within two years of the burial or cremation of the veteran.

To be eligible for VA burial benefits and burial benefits, you’ll need to be the surviving spouse, the surviving partner, surviving child, surviving parent, or executor or administrator of the Veteran’s estate. The Veteran also cannot have a dishonorable discharge and must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Died as a result of a service-connected disability.
  • Died while receiving VA care at a VA facility or a facility contracted by Veterans Affairs.
  • Died while traveling with authorization at the Veterans Affairs expense to or from a facility for treatment or case.
  • Died while receiving a Veteran pension or was eligible for a VA pension or compensation at the time of death, but chose to receive disability pay or full military retirement.

If you’re on active duty, serving as a member of Congress, or serving a federal prison sentence, you won’t be eligible for the burial allowance benefit.

What is the Burial Allowance Amount?

The amount you will get as a burial allowance will depend on whether the death was a service-connected or non-service-connected death. It also depends on when the veteran died.

For service-connected deaths, the amount will be $1,500 or $2,000, along with some or all of the transportation costs to a VA national cemetery. When it’s a non-service-connected death, the amount can vary based on when the veteran died. You will get a $300 burial allowance and $734 to $893 for a plot. This amount can go up if Veterans Affairs hospitalized the veteran at the time of their death.

You can also get a headstone or marker allowance along with the burial allowance. This allowance will also vary based on when the veteran passed away. It can range from $199 to $290. Of course, all of these dollar amounts can change based on the amount of burial compensation and other allowances the government authorizes each year.

Memorial Items

Veterans are entitled to more than just benefits to help pay for burial and funeral services. They can also get specific memorial items to honor the military service of your veteran. When a veteran or eligible family member is buried in a national cemetery, or in a qualifying veterans cemetery, you can get an allowance for a headstone or marker, but you can also get other memorial items.

The following items are all memorial items veterans may qualify for:

  • Veteran’s headstones and markers – You can get an allowance for a headstone or markers. These memorial items may also be available for National Guard members and reservists. You will need to fill out the right VA form to find out what you might be eligible.
  • Medallions – Veterans and active-duty military service members can potentially get a medallion when buried in a private cemetery. If a headstone or marker was privately purchased, you may be able to get a bronze medallion or a Medal of Honor, if eligible.
  • Burial flag – A United States flag will be provided to be draped on the casket or coffin be placed with an urn in honor of the Veteran’s military service. A burial flag will be provided if the Veteran is eligible.
  • Presidential Memorial Certificates – Some Veterans may qualify for a Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC), which is an engraved paper certificate that the current president will sign.

Bereavement Counseling

While having your Veteran buried in a national cemetery and getting an allowance for the funeral and burial are great benefits, bereavement counseling should not be overlooked. This is a benefit specifically for the surviving spouse, children, and parents of a military service member that has passed away while serving their country.

When this happens, you may qualify for bereavement counseling through the Veteran’s Center. With this type of counseling, you can get the support and assistance you need when going through this very psychological and emotional stress, after the death of an armed forces veteran.

Bereavement counseling or grief counseling is available to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a military service member that fits one of the following:

  • An armed forces member who passed away while serving their country
  • A reservist who died while on active duty
  • A National Guard member who died during active duty
  • A veteran who was receiving services from the Vet Center when they passed away

While the funeral and burial benefits are helpful, getting the grief counseling you need can make a big difference.

Along with these three main veterans’ benefits for burial and death, you can also get pre-need burial eligibility for burial in a VA national cemetery. Veterans can apply in advance to find out if they are eligible to be buried in a VA national cemetery. This benefit makes it easier for your family members to handle the burial planning process.

Eligibility for Pre-Need Burial Benefits

There are a few eligibility requirements if you want to be buried in a VA national cemetery. Veterans who were not dishonorably discharged when they left the military are eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Some family members may also be eligible including spouses and dependent children, even if the Veteran has already passed away. In some cases, an adult-dependent child can also be eligible.

How can I make sure I Gain Access to All the Benefits I am Entitled to in this Case?

One of the best ways to gain all the benefits you’re entitled to is to use a Veterans service like Trajector. When you want to ensure you get a full allowance for the funeral and burial, we can help. Our team will ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to, from burial in a national cemetery to the proper military funeral honors for your loved one.

VA Survivor Benefits

When your spouse or parent has served in the United States Military and passed away during active duty, you are entitled to certain VA survivor benefits. The government provides surviving spouses and surviving children with benefits since their family members made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Before you attempt to qualify for surviving spouse benefits, a survivor’s pension, or any other survivor benefits, it’s best to know what you might qualify for. Let’s look at some of the most common questions and the answers to the benefits you may get as a survivor.

What are Veteran’s Survivor Benefits?

You may qualify for many benefits when you are a spouse or dependent of a veteran. If the veteran passes away, you may qualify for VA survivor benefits. Some of the benefits given to the dependents and spouses of veterans continue as survivor benefits, in this case.

The survivor benefits you may be entitled to include:

  • Health care for surviving spouses and surviving dependents
  • Education and training for surviving spouses and surviving dependents
  • Home Loan Programs or Financial Counseling for surviving spouses
  • Life insurance options, claims, and beneficiary assistance for surviving spouses and dependents
  • Pre-need eligibility determination for burial in a VA national cemetery for surviving spouses and dependents
  • Burial benefits and memorial items for surviving spouses, surviving dependents, and surviving parents
  • Survivors’ pension for surviving spouses and surviving dependents
  • Compensation for surviving spouses, dependents, and parents known as the DIC benefit

These benefits are provided if a veteran has suffered death during active duty.

How Much Does the Government Provide for the Surviving Family of a Veteran?

The amount of VA survivor and death benefits provided by the government depends on the individual benefit and the circumstances. Each benefit is a bit different and provides a surviving spouse or child of the veteran a certain amount. Let’s look at each individual benefit to see what you might be entitled to as a survivor.

Health Care

As a surviving spouse or child, you may qualify for health care through the CHAMPVA program, the TRICARE program, or another program.

Education and Training

A surviving spouse or child may be eligible for help paying for job training or school through the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance Program, known as Chapter 35.

Home Loan Programs or Financial Counseling

A surviving spouse may qualify for the VA home loan program for buying, building, refinancing, or repairing a home. To qualify, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) through the Veterans Affairs office. This benefit can also help those struggling to make payments on a VA-backed loan to help with avoiding foreclosure.

Life Insurance Options, Claims, and Beneficiary Assistance

Eligible survivors can apply for the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) coverage and access various coverage options. You can also get free financial advice if you’re a beneficiary of a Veteran’s or service member’s policy.

Pre-need eligibility Determination for Burial in a VA National Cemetery

Another VA benefit offered to eligible survivors allows you to apply to be buried in a VA national cemetery in advance. This can help make things easier on the family during the burial process.

Burial Benefits and Memorial Items

Veterans benefits also include step-by-step guidance when planning a burial in a VA national cemetery, or in a state-sponsored veterans cemetery. Surviving spouses, children, and parents can also apply for help with the burial costs and request memorial items.

Survivors Pension

If you’re a surviving spouse or child of a veteran with wartime service, you might be eligible for a survivor pension, also known as a death pension. This VA benefit provides a monthly pension payment if you’re an eligible survivor.

Compensation for Surviving Spouse and Dependents (DIC Benefits)

DIC benefits are tax-free monetary benefits offered for a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a veteran who died in the line of duty or from a service-related illness or injury.

How Much is the Death Pension Benefit for a Surviving Spouse or Child?

Before you figure out how much the death pension might be, it’s important to look at the eligibility requirements. You may be eligible for a VA survivor’s pension, if:

  • The deceased veteran was discharged from service under any circumstances other than dishonorable conditions.
  • The deceased veteran served for at least 24 months on active duty with at least one day of wartime service.
  • You are the deceased veteran’s non-remarried surviving spouse or the unmarried child.
  • You have a combined net worth and income of less than $138,489.

All four of these eligibility requirements must be met to receive a VA survivor’s pension. However, your net worth will not include your house or any vehicles. It includes your investments, furniture, and things like furniture.

If you are eligible to receive a death pension payment, you will receive the following:

  • $9,896 for a surviving spouse with no dependent children
  • $12,951 for a surviving spouse with one dependent child and $2,523 for each additional child
  • $12,094 for a housebound surviving spouse with no dependents
  • $15,144 for a housebound surviving spouse with one dependent
  • $15,816 for a surviving spouse in need of aid with no dependents
  • $18,867 for a surviving spouse in need of aid with one dependent
  • $2,523 for a surviving child with no eligible parent

This amount will vary based on income requirements. However, some income will not be counted towards the yearly limit, including welfare benefits, social security, medical costs, and some wages earned by surviving dependents. You must fill out VA Form 21-534 to apply for death pension benefits.

Am I eligible for DIC as a surviving spouse or dependent?

Another monetary benefit you might qualify for is known as the VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or VA DIC. This benefit is available for surviving spouses, children, and parents, with different eligibility requirements. If you qualify, you may receive a tax-free monetary benefit.

The 2022 DIC rates for spouses, children, and parents vary quite a bit, depending on many factors. As a surviving spouse, your DIC monthly payment will start at $1,437.66. It can be as high as $3,117.42 per month, depending on several factors.

As a surviving child, the monthly payment rate will start at $607.02. However, this can be less if the child is between 18 and 23 and is in a qualified school program. Other factors can change the amount a surviving child may receive monthly.

Surviving parent rates will depend on the income level of the parent. You must be the only parent alive to qualify for these benefits.

Get the Help You Need When Applying for Survivor Benefits

Applying for veterans’ benefits as a surviving spouse or child can be difficult. Without the right help, you might not gain access to everything you’re entitled to. Trajector provides the help you need when getting the benefits you deserve.

With various experts on our team, you can gain access to the help you need when working with the Veterans Affairs Office. We can help you get the accrued benefits you are eligible for and all other survivor benefits you qualify for.

What Benefits do Spouses of Deceased Veterans Get

You might be entitled to some benefits when you go through the horrific experience of losing your spouse. If your spouse was a veteran with active duty military service, the government provides some benefits for the surviving spouse.

Before you contact the Veteran’s Affairs Office, it’s a good idea to understand the benefits you might be entitled to. Let’s look at some of the common questions surrounding the question, what benefits do spouses of diseased veterans get?

Does the Government Provide for Spouses of Deceased Veterans?

The short answer to this question is yes. There are spouse benefits offered for the surviving spouse of a veteran that suffers death during active duty and in a few other circumstances.

Understanding the benefits you can get as a surviving spouse is important. There are several different benefits you might qualify for, including:

  • Health Care through the CHAMPVA Program or the TRICARE Program
  • Education and Training, including help paying for job training or schooling
  • Home Loan Programs to purchase, repair, refinance, or build a home
  • Financial Counseling to help with paying a VA-backed loan
  • Life Insurance benefits through the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance coverage options
  • Burial Benefits, including memorial items and pre-need eligibility for burial in a VA national cemetery
  • Survivor’s pension provides monthly pension payments
  • VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or DIC benefits offer tax-free monetary payments

These benefits are provided for the surviving spouse of a veteran, and all come with different eligibility requirements. Understanding all the benefits you might qualify for as a surviving spouse is important. While the most common benefit is the survivor’s pension, there are other benefits you can use for burial, health care, and helping in other ways.

What Type of Survivors Pension can I Receive?

The survivor’s pension you receive will depend on some specific factors. This is also known as a death pension. A VA survivors’ pension will provide monthly payments if you are a qualified surviving spouse. This should not be confused with the DIC benefits, which differ from a survivor’s pension.

To be eligible for this benefit, at least one of the following must be true:

  • The veteran began active duty on or before September 7, 1980, and was a service member on active duty for at least 90 days with at least one day of wartime service.
  • The veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, and has at least 24 months of active duty service with at least one day of wartime service. Some exceptions do apply to this qualification.
  • The veteran was an officer that started active duty after October 16, 1981, and hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months.

Along with the requirements above, your yearly family income and net worth will have to meet the limits set by Congress. Your home, car, and most home furnishings will not be counted in your net worth.

The wartime periods that are recognized for this benefit include:

  • Mexican Border period from May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917
  • World War I from April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918
  • World War II from December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946
  • Korean Conflict from June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War Era from November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975
  • Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through a future date that will b set by presidential proclamation or by law

You can receive a survivor’s pension if you qualify as a surviving spouse.

VA Survivors Pension Rates

The rate for your survivor’s pension will depend on the difference between your countable income and the limit set by Congress. The limit set by Congress is called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate or MAPR.

Your countable income is the amount you earn, which will include your salary, payments from investments, and retirement payments. It can also include any income you may get from dependents in your household. Expenses, such as non-reimbursable medical expenses may reduce your countable income.

The MAPR amount will be the maximum VA pension amount payable to a Veteran, surviving spouse, or child set by Congress. This varies based on how many dependents you will have, if you’re Housebound, or if you require Aid or Attendance benefits. It changes yearly based on a cost-of-living increase.

It’s also important to note that there is a net worth limit for eligibility for this benefit. The current limit is $138,489 and can change from year to year.

The yearly survivor’s pension amount will range from $12,941 to $19,438, based on your specific situation, including your dependents.

Will the Cost of a Funeral for the Veteran be Covered?

With the high cost of funerals, you probably want to know if a funeral for a veteran will be covered. There are a few things to look at:

What will Veteran’s Affairs Cover for Burial and Funeral Costs?

The VA benefit for burial will cover some of the costs, but often it will not cover all of the costs. This is paid through a burial and plot allowance for eligible veteran family members.

The burial allowance offers a tax-free benefit that will automatically be paid for veterans of the armed forces that have suffered death. You will have to provide the Veterans Affairs Office with receipts to show the actual cost paid.

The actual benefit amount will depend on how the service member’s death occurred.

  • If the death happened during hospitalization by the VA, you get an $828 burial allowance and $828 for a burial plot.
  • If the death is service-connected, the VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 and may provide reimbursement for some transportation costs.
  • If the death is not service-connected, the burial allowance will be $300 with $828 provided for a burial plot.
  • For any indigent veteran with no next of kin, the VA will provide a casket or cremation urn for interment in a national, state, or tribal veterans cemetery.

You can also get a death benefit payment of $255 from the Social Security Administration. These amounts will likely change every year.

All veterans with other-than-dishonorable discharges can gain access to free burial in a national VA cemetery. However, space is limited, so the VA suggests you request pre-determination of burial eligibility to avoid delay.

Surviving spouses are often eligible to be buried next to the veteran at no or no cost. A marker will also be provided.

Can I get DIC Benefits as a Surviving Spouse?

Yes, a dependency and indemnity compensation or DIC benefit will be paid to the surviving spouse of a military service member who died in the line of duty or died from a service-connected illness or condition during active duty. The DIC benefit often helps the surviving spouse more than any other death benefit.

DIC benefits offer monthly tax-free payments to the surviving spouse for the rest of their life. The base rate is $1,437.66 and can go up based on the situation.

How can I Access this Help?

Applying for health care benefits, a survivor’s pension, and the many other benefits through the veteran’s service can be overwhelming. You might not get all the benefits you’re eligible for if you don’t understand what you’re applying for.

Trajector provides the assistance you need when applying for surviving spouse benefits. We can help you navigate the entire process, from choosing the VA form you need to fill out to advising you of the benefits you should apply for.