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.
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.
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.