Veterans Benefits


Here is some helpful information from the VA website: 


What Are VA Burial Allowances?
 

VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible Veteran's burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: 

(1) a burial and funeral expense allowance

(2) a plot or interment allowance. 

Who Is Eligible?

You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if: 

• you paid for a Veteran's burial or funeral, AND 

• you have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased veteran's employer, AND 

• the Veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. 

In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met: 

• the Veteran died because of a service-related disability, OR 

• the Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR 

• the Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay, OR 

• the Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR 

• the Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR 

• the Veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date or death, OR 

• the veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.

How Much Does VA Pay? 

Service-Related Death. VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001. VA will pay up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 10, 2001. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed. 

Non-service-Related Death. For deaths on or after October 1, 2011, VA will pay up to $700 toward burial and funeral expenses (if hospitalized by VA at time of death), or $300 toward burial and funeral expenses (if not hospitalized by VA at time of death), and a $700.00 plot-interment allowance (if not buried in a national cemetery). For deaths on or after December 1, 2001, but before October 1, 2011, VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance. The plot interment allowance is $150 for deaths prior to December 1, 2001. If the death happened while the Veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the Veteran’s remains may be reimbursed. An annual increase in burial and plot allowances, for deaths occurring after October 1, 2011, begins in fiscal year 2013 based on the Consumer Price Index for the preceding 12-month period. 

How Can You Apply? 

You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits. You should attach a copy of the veteran’s military discharge document (DD 214 or equivalent), death certificate, funeral and burial bills. They should show that you have paid them in full. 

 Application for Burial Benefits   

     

VETERANS HEADSTONE

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death. 

For eligible veterans that died on or after Nov. 1, 1990 and whose grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone, VA may also furnish a headstone or marker to supplement the privately purchased headstone. 

Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains. The style chosen must be permitted by the officials in charge of the private cemetery where it will be placed. 

When burial is in a national cemetery, state veterans' cemetery, or military post/base cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin or authorized representative. 

Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a Government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a national cemetery, state veteran's cemetery, or military post/base cemetery. 

Note: There is no charge for the headstone or marker itself, however arrangements for placing it in a private cemetery are the applicant's responsibility and all setting fees are at private expense. 

Application for Headstone  

REPLACEMENT DD214 

Beyond medical records, beyond medals and beyond pay stubs, the most important document a veteran can have is a DD 214. The DD 214, or the Department of Defense Form 214, shows how long a military veteran served, what type of discharge he/she had, and what benefits he/she is entitled to. It isn't a large complicated form but it possesses key information needed to obtain death benefits from the Veterans Administration. 

If you are planning ahead you can request a copy of a DD214 from the National Archives using the link below.       

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/ 

If your request is urgent (e.g. upcoming funeral) and there is a deadline associated with your request, please provide this information in the "Purpose" section of 

the SF-180 and fax it to Customer Service at (314) 801-0764 and then contact customer service at (314) 801-0800 if you have questions or require same day service. The staff of FRENCH Funerals – Cremations would also be glad to assist you. 

SF-180; Request for Military Records  

MILITARY HONORS 

The rendering of Military Funeral Honors is a way to show the nation's deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful nation can provide to the veteran's family. 

Upon a family’s request, an eligible veteran will receive military funeral honors including folding and presenting of the United States burial flag. Full military burial honors are provided only to those on active duty or retired military personnel and at the sole discretion of the military. 

What can the family of an eligible veteran expect? 

 The core elements of the funeral honors ceremony, which will be conducted, are: 

•Flag folding 

•Flag presentation 

•Playing of Taps 

What additional Funeral Honors elements could be provided if personnel and resources are available? 

By law, military units are required to provide, at a minimum, a two-person uniformed detail to present the core elements of the Funeral Honors ceremony. Additional elements that could be provided as part of the Funeral Honors ceremony include: 

•Rifle detail 

•Color guard 

•Pallbearers 

Burial Flag 

Burial flags are provided at no cost. 

After the burial, the flag will be presented to the veteran's next of kin. If no claim is made for the flag by the next of kin, it may be given, upon request, to a close friend or associate of the deceased veteran.