In the first part of our series, we discussed the qualifications necessary for Veterans to be eligible to be buried in a National Cemetery. Today in part two, we will talk about the different Veteran burial benefits available, as well as the entitlements and allowances.
Veteran Burial Benefits
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;
- grave sites 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. In addition, those who are discharged or retired from service because of a disability which was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty are eligible.
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.
Finally, 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.
For more information directly from the VA office, here is a list of VA offices in the state of Minnesota. This is but a brief look into what you can expect when your loved one is interred in a national cemetery. Willwerscheid Funeral Home & Cremation Service will be glad to provide details or answer questions about VA cemeteries or other burial benefits. Comment on our Facebook page or send us an email at info@Willwerscheid.com to let us know what questions or thoughts you have, and make sure you check out part-one of this series, A Practical Guide to Honoring our Veterans – Part One: Qualifications.