Veteran Benefits

All veterans are entitled to burial in a national cemetery, a grave marker (regardless of the cemetery), and a flag. Spouses and dependent children are also entitled to a lot and marker but only in a national cemetery. There will be no charges for opening or closing the grave, a vault or liner, or setting the marker in a national cemetery. Depending on the circumstances, a family will be responsible for all other expenses including transportation to the cemetery.

 

                                                                                                                

  • Death during active duty. All funeral expenses will be paid by the military-body preparation, casket, transportation to the place of disposition, interment (if in a national cemetery), and marker. In addition, as of July, 2005, next-of-kin are entitled to a "death gratuity" of $100,000, retroactive to October 7, 2001.

  • Death due to a service related injury. There is a $2,000 "burial allowance" for these veterans which may be used to cover some of the funeral director's expenses, the casket, and transportation to the cemetery. IF death occurred in a VA facility, transport of the body to the cemetery will be paid, provided it is no farther than the last place of residence. If burial is not in a national cemetery, there is a $300 "interment allowance," but it is unlikely that will cover opening and closing or vault charges, let alone the cost of the lot. Although a marker is available at no charge, the private cemetery will probably have a setting fee.

  • Nonservice-related death in a VA facility OR while collecting a VA pension or disability compensation. There is a $300 "burial allowance" which may be used to defray some of the usual funeral expenses. Although burial in a national cemetery is free to these veterans, all other mortuary expenses are the responsibility of the family. Transportation to a national cemetery (not farther than the residence of the deceased) will be provided only if the death occurs in a VA facility. The $300 interment allowance applies when burial is in other than a national cemetery.

  • Death of a veteran outside a VA facility, not receiving military pension or compensation. The $2,000 and $300 benefits do not apply, nor is there reimbursement for transportation to the cemetery. The lot in a national cemetery, any required vault, interment, a marker, and flag are the only burial benefits. If interment is in other than a national cemetery, the family is responsible for the cost of the lot, opening and closing charges, the vault, and any fee charged for setting the government marker if that is selected. The family must also bear all other funeral costs.

Markers
Memorials are available to all veterans, spouses, and dependent children buried in a national cemetery and will be set without charge. For veterans who died before Sept. 11, 2001, markers are available to them -not to the spouse or dependents-for use in other cemeteries unless the grave has already been marked by a private memorial. For veterans who died on or after Sept. 11, 2001, the government will provide a headstone even if the grave already has a private marker. The installation cost must be borne by the family when in a non-government cemetery. Several styles of markers are available and must be consistent with existing monuments. Niche markers for cremains are also available.

Inscription must include name, branch of service, year of birth, year of death-in this order-and may include emblem of belief, rank, and decorations earned. At private expense, additional items-such as nick-names and terms of endearment-may be added but must be approved by the VA.