Service Connected Disability
There is a burial allowance of up to $2,000 for a veteran who dies from a service connected disability. This allowance will pay for the funeral, burial, and transportation if the total cost is less than $2,000, or it will pay the entire $2,000 if the expenses are of a greater amount. If the veteran is buried in a National Cemetery, there is an additional amount available for transportation. This amount is based upon the location of the nearest National Cemetery in relation to the place of death.
Note: There is no filing time limit for a service connected death.
Non-Service Connected Disability
For veterans who die from non-service connected disabilities, there are two allowances. There is a burial allowance of $300 and a $300 plot or interment allowance. There is an additional amount available for transportation if the veteran is buried in a National Cemetery, or if the veteran dies at a Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.
Eligibility Requirements for Non-Service Connected
Veterans who meet one of these requirements is qualified for non-service connected burial and plot allowances:
- Veterans receiving compensation or pension at time of death, or would have been receiving them if not for the waiver for retired pay.
- Veterans who had a pending claim for compensation or pension at time of death, which would have been granted.
- Veterans who served during a period of war and the body is not claimed.
- Veterans who die during hospitalization at a VA Medical Center or while receiving care at a medical center under contract to the VA.
- Veterans who die while traveling under VA authorization and expense for medical purposes.
- Veterans who die while they are under the care of an approved state nursing home after October 6, 1996.
For more information, visit the National Cemetery Administration's website.
Claimants Order of Precedence
Claimants to the burial allowance will be paid in the following order:
- Funeral Director- if a portion of the bill for the funeral has not been paid
- The provider of the plot or interment services- if a portion of the bill has not been paid
- The person who personally paid for associated burial costs
- Executor of the veteran's estate
Any veteran, who is deceased and was discharged from the service under conditions other than dishonorable is eligible for a grave marker/headstone. Headstones are also provided to eligible spouses and dependents if they are buried in a military, national, or State veterans cemetery. However, those whose period of military service was after September 7, 1980 require a minimum service of 24 months. For more online information and application, visit the National Cemetery Administration's website.
Note: National Guard and Reserve members with twenty or more years and entitlement to retired pay (after October 27, 1992) are entitled to a grave marker.
The VA furnishes flags to drape the coffins of veterans, certain members of the National Guard, and the Selected Reserves. The flag is presented to the next of kin after interment.
Presidential Memorial Certificate
Presidential Memorial Certificates are available for next of kin, friends, and relatives to recognize the service of an honorably discharged veteran who is deceased. View a sample of the certificate.
Military Funeral Honor
The Department of Defense, will, upon request, provide military honors for the burial of military members and eligible veterans. The Department of Defense has a toll-free telephone line, which funeral directors can request honors (1-877-MIL-HONR)
Veteran Affairs operates the National Cemetery System. Any deceased veteran, who was discharge from the service under other than dishonorable, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery. However, military service after September 7, 1980 requires a minimum of 24 months of service. Individuals with twenty or more years of service in the National Guard or Reserves and entitled to retirement pay are also eligible for burial, as well as spouses, surviving spouses, dependent children, and adult, handicapped children.
Here are some other veterans' cemeteries, which do not fall under the VA:
- Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia (operated by the Department of Interior)
- Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in Tennessee (operated by the Department of Interior)
- Arlington National Cemetery (operated by The Department of the Army)
- State Veteran Cemeteries