The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide range of benefits to our Nations Veterans and their families. In order to receive VA benefits certain criteria must be met. A veteran must have been honorably discharged and had at least one day of active service.
- Burial in a National Cemetery- Veterans, their spouses, and dependant children are eligible for burial in a national cemetery at no cost to the family. This includes a marker for the grave and a concrete grave liner for the casket. Please note if a veteran is not buried in a national cemetery, the veteran’s family could be eligible for a plot allowance reimbursement of up to $300 dollars. Please contact the VA when applying for this benefit.
- Reimbursement of Burial Expenses- A burial allowance may be paid to help offset expenses of the veteran’s funeral and burial. The allowance is payable to someone who died with a service connected disability, were in receipt of compensation, or received a pension/ retired pay. The family of a deceased veteran may also receive partial reimbursement if they died in a VA facility. Please note the family must apply for this benefit with the VA to be reimbursed. The forms required are: 1. 21-530, Application for burial allowance; 2. DD214- Military proof of service form; 3. One certified copy of a death certificate; and 4. Copies of funeral/burial bills.
- Headstone or Marker– The VA provides a headstone or marker for veterans buried in any cemetery worldwide.
- Flag- An American Flag is provided to drape the casket or accompany the urn of an eligible veteran. The flag is presented to the veteran’s next of kin upon burial.
- Presidential Memorial Certificates- Family and other loved ones may request these personalized certificates. You or your funeral director must obtain VA Form 40-0247 to apply for these certificates.
- Military Forces Honor Guard- New York State in July of 1999 established a program where honorable discharged veterans are eligible for Funeral Honors. This is of no cost to families and funeral directors. If desired please inform your funeral director at the time of arrangements.
The above information is a brief description of Veterans benefits. The VA has a wide range of additional information. You can contact them at 800-827-1000 or go to their website www.va.gov for further questions. Walker Funeral Home has the applications, pamphlets and other forms available if you need to apply for any of the above benefits. We can also assist you if you have any further questions.
BY PAUL RUDOLPH, JR.
Walker Funeral Home
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