First and foremost, to anyone reading this who has served in our military, thank you for your service. The rest of us are able to live freely because of the sacrifice you made. Additionally, a huge thank you to your family as well because they too made sacrifices during your enlistment.
Because of your service you and your family are eligible to take advantage of select burial benefits. Some of them come with certain requirements, and others do not. In the end, every veteran should know what benefits they are entitled to which is why we put together this simple guide. Today, we will break down in plain English what kind of burial benefits you may be eligible for.
A Burial In A National VA Cemetery
All veterans, their spouses, and dependents are eligible for a burial in a national VA cemetery at no cost. The government will pay for the grave-liner, gravesite, closing and open of the grave, and a marker or headstone. They will even ensure the site is cared for. Spouses and dependents are still eligible for these rewards even if the veteran is still alive.
Headstones | Medallions | Markers
Upon request, the Department Of Veterans Affairs will provide a government marker or headstone for any eligible veteran at no cost. The marker can be placed at an unmarked grave of the veteran or at one where there was a privately purchased headstone. The requesting family can select from a variety of stones, and choose what text is inscribed on the headstone.
It’s important to know that the marker or headstone provided by the government can be placed at any cemetery in the world. It does not have to be a VA cemetery. However, if it is placed at a privately held cemetery, the requesting family will bear the cost of placing the headstone at the location along with all settling fees.
Military Funeral Honors
The family of a deceased veteran may request a funeral honors ceremony. Like all other benefits, this service also comes at no cost to the family. The military honoring will be carried about by two enlisted service members who are in uniform. At least one of service members will belong the same branch of the military as the deceased veteran. The honoring will include a folding and presenting of a USA flag along with the traditional playing of Taps.
Presidential Memorial Certificates
The family of any veteran who is eligible to be buried at a national VA cemetery may request to receive an engraved paper certificate that is signed by the current President to honor the deceased veteran.
Death That Is Service Related
The VA will reimburse as much as $2,000 toward funeral costs if the death was on or after September 11, 2001. Conversely, they will pay as much as $1,500 for deaths prior to September 11, 2011. In addition, if the deceased is buried at a VA cemetery, the VA may reimburse some or all of the transportation costs.
Death That Isn’t Service Related
The VA has different levels of monetary reimbursement to cover burial expenses for non service related deaths. The amount given is determined by whether or not the deceased veteran was hospitalized by the VA, whether or not the burial location is a VA cemetery or a private cemetery, and the date of the death.
Reasons A Veteran Might Not Be Able To Take Advantage Of These Benefits
There are some situations where a veteran is not eligible for all the various burial benefits provided by the government. The following situations will disable any veteran from accessing some or all the aforementioned benefits.
- Dishonorable discharge
- Was a member of Congress who died while in office
- Was a federal prisoner
- Convicted of a certain state or capital crimes
- Convicted of certain sex offenses
The lost of a loved one is always incredibly difficult. Fortunately, the government has established all these benefits to ensure your loved ones can respectfully honor your life of service to your country. While many of the most common end of life costs are covered for veterans, there may still be some extraneous expenses that need to be addressed. It might be necessary to invest in some form of burial insurance to take care of these expenses. In any event, you served which means your family rightfully won’t have to pay for the majority of your burial services.
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