The reason why we feel it’s necessary to write this article is that it’s a shame to hear older veterans over-assume what they’re family might receive from the VA when they pass away to help with final expenses. Below are the two categories of the payout and below that are the ways a Veteran qualifies.
On July 7, 2014: VA changed its monetary burial benefits regulations to simplify the program and pay eligible survivors more quickly and efficiently. These regulations authorized VA to pay, without a written application, most eligible surviving spouses basic monetary burial benefits at the maximum amount authorized by law through automated systems rather than reimbursing them for actual costs incurred.
- The current burial regulations permit VA to pay, at a flat rate, burial and plot or interment allowances thereby enabling VA to automate payment of burial benefits to most eligible surviving spouses and more efficiently process other burial benefit claims.
- The burial allowance for a non-service-connected death is $300, and $2,000 for a death connected to military service.
Veteran Burial Benefits
These break down into two categories service-related death and Non-service-related Death. But this does not qualify a Veteran. (Qualification criterions are listed afterward).
For service-related Deaths, VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths after September 11, 2001. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the costs of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.
For non-service-related deaths VA will pay up to $749 toward burial and funeral expenses for deaths on or after October 1, 2016 (if hospitalized by VA at time of death), OR $300 toward burial and funeral expenses (if not hospitalized by VA at time of death), AND a $749 plot-interment allowance (if not buried in a national cemetery. An annual increase in burial and plot allowances for deaths occurring after October 1, 2011, begins in fiscal year 2013 based on the Consumer Price Index for the preceding 12-month period.
Eligibility Requirements (Here’s how the Veteran Qualifies)
You paid for a Veteran's burial or funeral, AND
- You have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased Veteran's employer, AND
- The Veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, AND
- The Veteran died because of a service-related disability, OR
- The Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
- The Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay, OR
- The Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
- The Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR
- The Veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date or death, OR
- The Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
NOTE: VA does not pay burial benefits if the deceased:
- Died during active military service, OR
- Was a member of Congress who died while holding office, OR
- Was a Federal prisoner
- Acceptable proof of death as specified in 38 CFR 3.211., AND
- Receipted bills that show that you made payment in whole or part, OR
- A statement of account, preferably on the printed billhead of the funeral director or cemetery owner. The statement of account must show:
- The name of the deceased Veteran for whom the services and merchandise were furnished, AND
- The nature and cost of the services and merchandise, AND
- All credits, AND
- The amount of the unpaid balance, if any
How to Apply
- Complete and submit a VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Allowance. You can find an office on our Facility Locator page, OR
- Apply online using eBenefits, OR
- Work with an accredited representative or agent, OR
- Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you. You can find your regional office on our Facility Locator
For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, visit our How to Apply page.
Other information regarding VA burial benefits such as flags, headstones and markers is provided by the National Cemetery Administration.
When trying to determine your eligibility here are some questions that will help determine the level of benefits that you qualify for:
- Do you have a VA disability rating and what level is it?
- Do you have a pending claim for VA compensation for a service-connected disability?
- Do you receive medical treatment at a VA medical treatment facility?
VA National Cemeteries Now Offering Pre-Need Eligibility Determinations
December 8, 2016
Washington - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced it now provides eligibility determinations for interment in a VA national cemetery prior to the time of need. Through the Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility Program, upon request, individuals can learn if they are eligible for burial or memorialization in a VA national cemetery.
"MyVA is about looking at VA from the Veterans' perspective, and then doing everything we can to make the Veteran Experience effective and seamless," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. "This new program reaffirms our commitment to providing a lifetime of benefits and services for Veterans and their families."
Interested individuals may submit VA Form 40-10007, Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery, and supporting documentation, such as a DD Form 214, if readily available, to the VA National Cemetery Scheduling Office by: toll-free fax at 1-855-840-8299; email to Eligibility.PreNeed@va.gov; or mail to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, P.O. Box 510543, St. Louis, MO 63151.
VA will review applications and provide written notice of its determination of eligibility. VA will save determinations and supporting documentation in an electronic information system to expedite burial arrangements at the time of need. Because laws and personal circumstances change, upon receipt of a burial request, VA will validate all pre-need determinations in accordance with the laws in effect at that time.
VA operates 135 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers’ lots in 40 states and Puerto Rico. More than 4 million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA’s national cemeteries. VA also provides funding to establish, expand and maintain 105 Veterans cemeteries in 47 states and territories including tribal trust lands, Guam, and Saipan. For Veterans buried in private or other cemeteries, VA provides headstones, markers or medallions to commemorate their service. In 2016, VA honored more than 345,000 Veterans and their loved ones with memorial benefits in national, state, tribal and private cemeteries.
Eligible individuals are entitled to burial in any open VA national cemetery, opening/closing of the grave, a grave liner, perpetual care of the gravesite, and a government-furnished headstone or marker or niche cover, all at no cost to the family. Veterans are also eligible for a burial flag and may be eligible for a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Information on VA burial benefits is available from local VA national cemetery offices, from the Internet at www.cem.va.gov, or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at any open VA national cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.
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To get updated information and confirm you’re looking at the latest VA burial benefits go to: