What Burial Benefits Do Veterans Spouses Receive
While we would like to give you a straightforward answer to this question, it is a rather complicated matter. Questions arise, such as:
- Will the burial be in a military cemetery or public cemetery?
- What if the veteran is still alive when the non-military spouse dies?
- Will the government pay for the burial of the spouse of a veteran who died in combat?
Generally speaking, a veterans spouse and minor dependents are allowed to be buried next to the veteran when they die, even if they predeceased the veteran. The government will pay for the burial, perpetual care, and an inscribed headstone. However, these benefits can only be claimed if the veterans spouse is buried in a national cemetery.
Generally, the spouse of an eligible veteran is able to be interred in a national cemetery even if that veteran is not buried or memorialized in a national cemetery. A spouse who remarries a non-veteran may claim burial rights from the prior marriage, as long as the death occurred on or after 1 January 2000. In addition, the spouse of a military member whose remains are unavailable for burial is also eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
This benefit is also available to minor dependents of the veteran as well as adult children of veterans who are unmarried, disabled, and dependent.
On a side note, cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner as casketed remains.
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Fact : Documentation Is Needed To Verify A Veterans Military Service
A copy of a veterans Report of Separation documents, also known informally as discharge papers, is required to verify military service and determine eligibility for most VA benefits. The majority of veterans who served after 1949 received DD Form 214 to document the details of their service.
For those families and veterans who do not have discharge papers, they can be requested from the National Personnel Records Center of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration online, by mail and by fax.
Gather The Documents And Information Youll Need To Identify The Deceased Before You Call The National Cemetery Scheduling Office
Such documents include:
DD214 or other discharge documents of the Veteran or service member
In this case, youll submit the DD214 of the spouse of the deceased. If you cant find the discharge documents, it may take several days for the staff to check eligibility. Please note that the veterans discharge form cannot be labeled a dishonorable discharge.
Also, discharge documents may not be necessary if the veteran is already deceased and interred in a national cemetery.
Documents that verify the relationship to the veteran
These may include a death certificate, letters from your doctor, marriage license, a statement from the Social Security Administration, or other documents to support your claim.
The funeral home director or family of the deceased can submit the documents by fax or email . Use the deceaseds name in the subject line.
Once the documents have been submitted, call 800-535-1117 to confirm the burial application and provide the following information.
Such information may include:
- Full name of the deceased
- Gender of the deceased
- Social Security number or Military Service number
- Relationship to the service member or veteran whose military service will be used to decide the eligibility
- Name of the next of kin
- The next of kins relationship to the deceased
- The next of kins Social Security number
- The next of kins phone number
- The next of kins address
You may also need to provide the following information about the deceased:
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Cremation Vs Traditional Burial: Which Is Right For You
An increasing number of people who have lost a loved one prefer cremation. cremation is not covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs , but it may be covered by burial benefits. In the case of a veterans death, the VA provides financial assistance to families for a portion of his or her burial, funeral, and transportation costs. In Virginia, cremation can cost between $1,200 and $4,000 on average. The amount you should expect to pay is determined by a number of factors. Direct cremation is one option, but traditional cremation is another. When you choose a direct cremation, the VA will bury cremated remains in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same level of respect as casketed remains.
Obtaining Service Documents: National Personnel Records Center
The National Personnel Records Center is the central repository of millions of military personnel, health and medical records of discharged and deceased Veterans of all branches of service during the 20th century. . NPRC also stores all military retirees’ medical treatment, as well as records for dependents and other persons treated at naval medical facilities. Records information is available upon written request to the extent allowed by law. To obtain service documents or other relevant military records, visit the NPRC Website.
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What Benefits Does A Military Spouse Get After Death
The Survivor Benefit Plan allows a retiree to ensure, after death, a continuous lifetime annuity for their dependents. The annuity which is based on a percentage of retired pay is called SBP and is paid to an eligible beneficiary. It pays your eligible survivors an inflation-adjusted monthly income.
Do you still get bah if your spouse dies?
If you are not living in government housing at the time of your loved ones death, you will be provided a lump-sum payment of 365 days BAH at the rate for your loved ones pay grade. If you are a surviving spouse and a member of the armed services, you are also eligible to receive BAH as an authorized dependent.
What is considered immediate family for military?
Immediate family includes: father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, spouses parents, children or someone who actually reared the Marine or Sailor .
Neptune Societys Veteran Services
Neptune Society recognizes the importance of honoring current and former military members and the service they gave to their country.
Neptune Society works closely with veterans via our affiliation with both the American Legion and VFW. We have a table at regional conventions for both organizations, and we work with veterans and their families to help them understand and take advantage of burial benefits.
For more information about how we can help you honor your loved one or ensure you receive all the benefits he or she is eligible for, contact us today.
© 2022 Neptune Society. All rights reserved.Additional Legal Information | Additional Legal Information Regarding Veterans Offerings
We are not authorized to file an initial application for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits on your behalf, or to represent you before the Board of Veterans Appeals within the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in any proceeding on any matter, including an application for that benefits. It would be illegal for me to accept a fee for preparing that application on your behalf.
This program is not financed by or connected in any manner with any governmental agency or veterans or other organization.
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Burial Benefits Death Benefits And Memorial Items For Veterans
If youre a veteran and your discharge was not dishonorable, you are probably eligible for burial in a national veterans cemetery.
If youre buried in a private cemetery, your family may be entitled to a veterans burial allowance.
You can receive military funeral honors and memorial items whether youre interred in a veterans cemetery or a private one.
Military Funeral Honors And Memorial Items
Almost all veterans can receive military funeral honors at no cost. They are also usually eligible for free memorial items including:
Headstones, markers, and medallions
If youre a veteran or the spouse of one, you can apply to learn if you qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery. If you do, youll get a pre-need decision letter confirming your eligibility. This will make it much easier on your family when they schedule your burial.
Normally, the process to schedule a burial starts with verifying the deceased’s eligibility. To schedule a burial at a VA national cemetery, follow these steps.
Arlington National Cemetery
Eligibility for burial at Arlington National Cemetery is stricter than for other national cemeteries. Only active duty, military retirees, former prisoners of war, and recipients of the Purple Heart and other top awards may be buried at Arlington.
See how to schedule a burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
State Veterans Cemeteries
Requirements for burial in a state veterans cemetery are like those for VA cemeteries. They may also have residency requirements.
To schedule a burial at a state veterans cemetery, contact the cemetery directly.
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Veterans Burial Benefits And Death Benefits At Private Cemeteries
Family members of some vets buried in private cemeteries may be able to get a veterans death benefit, or burial allowance. Eligible vets include those who received a VA pension or disability compensation when they were alive. The burial allowance can help pay for burial, funeral, and transportation costs.
Veteran Cremation And Burial Benefits And Services
Between $300 and $2,000 may not seem like a comprehensive benefit given that a traditional funeral with burial can run more than $11,000 on average. However, reimbursement of expenses is not the only benefit eligible veterans are afforded in relation to cremation and burial. If a former military service member is eligible for the reimbursements detailed above, the family may also receive burial-specific or cremation-specific benefits.
For example, any veteran who was not dishonorably discharged can receive, at no cost, a military detail of at least two people at his or her burial or memorial. That detail participates in a flag-folding ceremony, presents the family with the flag, and ensures Taps is appropriately played.
Burial-Specific Veteran Benefits
When a veteran or family opts for a traditional burial, they can claim some helpful benefits related to the final resting place. If the vet is buried in one of 141 national cemeteries across the country, then the gravesite is free. The family also doesnt have to pay to have the gravesite opened or closed, and they dont have to make any financial arrangements to ensure the grave is cared for. Veteran graves in national cemeteries are cared for in perpetuity at no cost to families.
Families of eligible veterans can also receive a Presidential Memorial Certificate. This is an engraved paper that honors the veterans service to his or her country.
Cremation-Specific Veteran Benefits
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Fact : Burial Allowances Are Available To Reimburse Surviving Family For Funeral Costs
A veterans surviving family may be eligible to receive a monetary benefit to help cover funeral, burial and transportation costs that will not be reimbursed by other organizations. Upon notification of a veterans death, eligible surviving spouses of record should receive automatic payment of burial allowances from the VA. In cases where there is no surviving spouse, the death benefit may be paid to a veterans partner from a legal union, child, parent, or executor/administrator of their estate, but a claim must be filed to request the funds.
In addition to the burial allowance, surviving family may also be approved for a plot allowance and/or reimbursement for costs associated with transporting the veterans remains. For example, in the event of a non-service-connected death, a burial and funeral expense allowance and a plot-interment allowance may be awarded, depending on the circumstances. To receive a VA burial allowance, the late veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and meet at least one of the following criteria:
For non-service-connected deaths, an Application for Burial Benefits must be submitted within two years of the date of the veterans burial or cremation.
Fact : Va Benefits Do Not Cover All Funeral Or Cremation Costs
Burial benefits provided by the VA come in several different forms. Veterans and their surviving families may be eligible for monetary benefits, honorary recognitions, and specific funeral goods and/or services. However, its important to understand that all these benefits combined still may not cover the total cost of a veterans final arrangements.
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How Much Does The Military Pay For Your Funeral
Almost all veterans are entitled to free military funeral honors. In addition, most of them are entitled to free memorial items such as heads, markers, and medallions.
A Service Funeral honors someone who has died while serving the country. In accordance with the law, all eligible Veterans are required to attend a military funeral honors ceremony, which includes folding and presenting the American flag, as well as playing taps and saluting. Depending on the preferences of the family, the ceremony can be held in a private setting or in public. Military funerals are an important part of American life. There is no better way to remember and honor the dead than with a gravestone. Funerals for soldiers who have died in service are another way to show our gratitude for their service.
Average Veteran Cremation Cost Versus Average Traditional Funeral Costs
While costs vary widely across locations and due to varying needs and preferences of family members, on average, cremation is less expensive than a traditional burial and funeral. A direct cremation, which includes an urn, cremation prep costs and a final disposition, costs one-third less than burial.
The types of final disposition can include options such as scattering ashes, keeping ashes in an urn, or putting some ashes in a memorial container such as a piece of jewelry. Obviously, some dispositions may cost more such as placement in the Neptune Memorial Reef or conversion of ashes to a tattoo. Find out more about final disposition options in our guide on what you can do with cremation ashes.
Note that these costs dont include a memorial service. In general, a memorial service is held separately from the cremation and can take any form the family wants. You might choose to have a service at home, in a church, at a local reception hall, or even in a location that was meaningful for the departed, which means the budget for such an event is very much in the familys hands. For ideas about memorial services and what could be involved, read this article on cremation memorial ideas.
While some families prefer burial for religious reasons or due to a desire for tradition, cremation is by far the most affordable choice.
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Funeral And Burial Benefits For Service Members
The Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs ensure that service members who die on active duty receive recognition and dignified burial services. The departments also offer help for their survivors.
In general, any honorably discharged service member is eligible to receive DOD or VA funeral and burial benefits. A dishonorable discharge makes a service member ineligible for those benefits. It is Defense Department policy that all service members remains are handled with dignity, honor and respect.
Mortuary services provided for active-duty deaths include:
- Recovery, evacuation, transportation and identification of remains.
- Return of personal effects. A legal representative of the service members estate is entitled to the personal effects. If no such person is identified, the primary next of kin is entitled to them and decides where they will be shipped or stored.
- Preparation and casketing of the service member.
- Transport of the deceased service members remains to the burial site.
- Transport of immediate family members to the burial site.
- When eligible, burial in a gravesite in a national or private cemetery . Cremated remains are buried or placed into urns in cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
Additional services that may be available include:
- Military funeral honors consisting of, at a minimum:
- Military representation
- Ceremonial folding and presentation of the American flag to the next of kin
- Playing of Taps
What Does The Va Pay For When A Veteran Dies
What does the VA pay when a soldier or airman dies? In addition to paying up to $796 for burial and funeral expenses for deaths on or after October 1, 2019 , the VA will pay $300 for burial and funeral expenses if the deceased was not admitted to a VA hospital during the hospitalization, and a $796 Can the VA reimburse me for headstones? Every eligible Veteran in a cemetery around the world can have a free headstone or marker installed on their unmarked grave.
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Basic Allowance For Housing
As a surviving spouse or child, you can continue to live in government housing for 1 year or relocate to a private quarter and receive a year of Basic Allowance for Housing or Overseas Housing Allowance .
To be qualified for this allowance, the deceased military member must have been residing in government quarters. He or she must have been eligible for BAH or OHA allowances at the time of death as well.
Contact The National Cemetery Scheduling Office
Once the burial eligibility has been determined, the deceaseds family or the funeral director should contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office. The funeral director can help you with these steps too.
This office is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. E.T. The office is closed on the three major holidays.
Its worth noting that burials at national cemeteries take place on weekdays. The National Cemetery Scheduling Office can tell you the available burial times for each cemetery.
Once the burial is scheduled, you might seek out personnel at the specific cemetery where the burial will occur to ask for information specific to the cemetery.
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