In the second part of this article on veteran burial benefits, we will discuss what the burial benefits actually are and how your family can make the most of them. There are entitlements and restrictions to keep in mind when planning a veteran burial. We hope the outline below will give a summary of the most valuable information to consider when planning a burial for your veteran loved one. Make sure to check out part one of this series as well to see what qualifications are needed to be buried in a VA National Cemetery.
- A veteran who dies as a result of a service-connected disability is entitled to a maximum of $1,500.00 for funeral and funeral expenses. The costs of transporting the body to the national cemetery nearest the veteran's home may also be paid.
- Burial in a national cemetery is an honor reserved for Armed Forces veterans and their eligible dependents. The Veterans Administration (VA) maintains this tradition in behalf of a grateful Nation.
VA entitlements associated with interment in a national cemetery include:
- furnishing a grave space;
- opening and closing the grave;
- providing the interment site with perpetual care;
- supplying a suitable headstone or marker.
Persons arranging for an interment should be aware of the following:
- for safety reasons, national cemeteries use a temporary site area for the committal service;
- if the next-of-kin does not provide a burial vault for the casket National Cemetery will furnish a two piece concrete grave box. The grave box is not air tight, nor water tight as is a sealed vault. The grave box is provided to prevent grave settlement;
- gravesites may not be reserved in advanced;
- additional inscriptions beyond that furnished by the government are allowed at private expense;
- graves are assigned at a National Cemetery without regard to race, color, rank, or any other discriminatory reasons;
- cremations are buried in ground in special size graves. In cases where subsequent family interment is not a cremation, the cremated remains are moved to a full-size grave to accommodate the casket;
- a memorial marker may be placed for any veteran whose cremated remains were scattered. Memorial markers can also be placed for any veteran whose remains were not recovered.
- An additional plot or interment allowance of up to $150.00 is available to the same categories of veterans eligible for the $300.00 burial benefits, and to those who are discharged or retired from service because of a disability which was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty. The plot allowance is provided only for those veterans who are not buried in a national cemetery.
- Claims for VA burial benefits must generally be filed within two years of permanent burial or cremation. Additional costs of transporting a body may be allowed if the veteran died at a VA hospital or other facility at VA expense, or if the veteran died in transit at VA expense to or from a medical facility.
- Either Willwerscheid Funeral Home & Cremation Service or the individual paying the burial expenses may claim reimbursement for burial and plot allowances through any VA office.