To all Veterans and their families...
We understand the incredible commitment that all Veterans have made to our country. To honor our Veteran’s commitment to our great nation, we have several unique programs set up which are available to all Veterans and their families. We are honored to serve the veteran and military community.
Research has shown that many veterans do not receive all the benefits that they are entitled to. One call to our funeral home and we handle all the details. Our staff is trained to handle every detail of making burial and cremation arrangements for veterans. This includes our answering questions about military protocol, assuring that legal requirements are met, and providing whatever equipment, facilities, and technical services that may be needed. We will help you in obtaining all veterans’ benefits available, social security benefits and life insurance.
It is important that you know that all veterans, and possibly their spouses and children, are entitled to free cemetery spaces, grave opening/closing, grave liner and headstone at any VA cemetery. We take our responsibility to you very seriously. It is helpful to consider all your options and take time to ask questions before making final decisions about such an important event. It is our intent to help make the entire experience as positive as possible.
We hope the following information will answer any questions you have regarding the various benefits available to veterans and their families. If you have additional questions, please free to contact us.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible you must be a veteran discharged or separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable, and have completed the required period of service. U.S. Armed Forces members who die on active duty are also eligible, as are spouses and dependent children of eligible living and deceased veterans, and of current and deceased armed forces members. Contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at (800) 827-1000 for more information.
How do you apply?
Veterans benefits are not paid automatically. It is your responsibility to contact the Veterans Administration. To ensure prompt handling of your claim, have the following information ready:
· Social Security number for yourself and your dependent children
· Certified copy of original DD214 (Enlisted Record and Report of Separation)
· Certified copy of Death Certificate
· Verification of the life insurance amount you will receive as a result of the veterans death
· Paid receipts for hospital and doctor bills incurred by last illness, if applicable
· Paid receipts for funeral and cemetery expenses
· If either yourself or the veteran was previously married, provide a certified copy of the original divorce decree or death certificate proving the previous marriage was dissolved by divorce or death
· If there are dependent children, you will need an original birth certificate for each child under 18 or over 18 if full-time student
· If over 18 and still in school, you will need to fill out VA Form 21-674
· If you or the veteran receive Social Security Benefits, the exact amount must be reported
· If you already have a VA claim number, you must furnish the claim number you have been assigned
· If you or the veteran receive additional income, the source and exact amount must be reported
Reimbursement of Burial Expenses
VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the veteran's death is service connected. VA also will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a service-disabled veteran to the national cemetery nearest the home of a deceased that has available gravesites. In such cases, the person who bore the veteran's burial expenses may claim reimbursement from VA. VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral expense allowance for veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled to compensation but for receipt of military retirement pay. Eligibility also is established when death occurs in a VA facility or a nursing home with which VA contracted. Additional costs of transportation of the remains may be reimbursed. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims of service-connected deaths. In other deaths, claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation.
VA will pay a $300 plot allowance when the veteran is not buried in a cemetery that is under U.S. Government jurisdiction if the veteran is discharged from active duty because of disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty, if the veteran was in receipt of compensation or pension or would have been in receipt of compensation but for receipt of military retired pay, or if the veteran died while hospitalized by VA. The plot allowance is not payable solely on wartime service.
If the veteran is buried without charge for the cost of a plot or interment in a state-owned cemetery reserved solely for veteran burials, the $300 plot allowance may be paid to the state. Burial expenses paid by the deceased's employer or a state agency will not be reimbursed.
VA provides an American flag to drape the casket of a veteran and to a person entitled to retired military pay. After the funeral service, the flag may be given to the next of kin or a close associate. VA also will issue a flag on behalf of a service member who was missing in action and later presumed dead. Flags are issued at VA regional offices, national cemeteries, and post offices.
Burial in National Cemeteries VA Cemeteries
Burial benefits in a VA national cemetery include the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbaria for the inurnment of cremated remains or special gravesites for the burial of cremated remains. Headstones and markers and their placement are provided at the government's expense.
Veterans and armed forces members who die on active duty are eligible for burial in one of VA's 114 national cemeteries. An eligible veteran must have been discharged or separated from active duty under honorable or general conditions and have completed the required period of service. Persons entitled to retired pay as a result of 20 years creditable service with a reserve component are eligible. A U.S. citizen who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in a war also may be eligible.
Spouses and minor children of eligible veterans and of armed forces members also may be buried in a national cemetery. A surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who married a nonveteran, and whose remarriage was terminated by death or divorce, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
Gravesites in national cemeteries cannot be reserved. Funeral directors or others making burial arrangements must apply at the time of death. Reservations made under previous programs are honored. The National Cemetery System normally does not conduct burials on weekends. A weekend caller, however, will be directed to on of three strategically located VA cemetery offices that remain open during weekends to schedule burials at the cemetery of the caller's choice during the following week.
Headstones and Markers
VA provides headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of veterans anywhere in the world and for eligible dependents of veterans buried in national, state veteran or military cemeteries.
Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble, upright granite and upright marble types are available to mark the grave in a style consistent with the place of burial. Niche markers also are available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.
Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, the years of birth and death, and branch of service. Optional items that also may be inscribed at VA expense are: military grade, rank or rate; war service such as World War II; months and days of birth and death; an emblem reflecting one's beliefs; valor awards; and the Purple Heart. Additional items may be inscribed at private expense.
When burial is in a national, state veteran or military cemetery, the headstone or marker is ordered through the cemetery, which will place it on the grave. Information regarding style, inscription, shipping and placement can be obtained from the cemetery.
When burial occurs in a cemetery other than a national cemetery or a state veterans cemetery, the headstone or marker must be applied for from VA. It is shipped at government expense to the consignee designated on the application. VA, however, does not pay the cost of placing the headstone or marker on the grave.
To apply, you must complete VA form 40-1330. Be sure to include telephone numbers and signatures. Use the information on the DD-214 and other supporting documents to help you fill out the application as completely as possible. Forms and assistance are available at VA regional offices.
To apply, mail your application to the Quantico, Virginia, mailing address. You may use either the US Postal Service, or one of the mail delivery services commercially available. Our address is:
Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903
For information regarding the status of an application, you may call the Director, Office of Memorial Programs (403B3) at 1-800-697-6947.
VA cannot issue a headstone or marker for a spouse or child buried in a private cemetery. Twenty year reservists without active duty service are eligible for a headstone or marker, if they are entitled to military retired pay at the time of death.
Headstones or Markers for Memorial Plots
To memorialize an eligible veteran whose remains are not available for burial, VA will provide a plot and headstone or marker in a national cemetery. The headstone or marker is the same as that used to identify a grave except that the mandatory phrase "In Memory of" precedes the authorized inscription. The headstone or marker is available to memorialize eligible veterans or deceased active-duty members whose remains were not recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and scattered. The memorial marker may be provided for placement in a cemetery other than a national cemetery. In such a case, VA supplies the marker and pays the cost of shipping, but does not pay for the plot or the placement of the marker. Only a relative recognized as the next of kin may apply for the benefit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible?
Military members on active duty, Military retirees, members and former members of the Selected Reserve, eligible U.S. veterans of any war, other U.S. veterans who served at least one term of enlistment and separated under conditions other than dishonorable.
My husband is a veteran and wants to be buried in a National Cemetery. Can I be buried with him?
Yes. The veteran and spouse are buried next to each other.
How are Social Security and Veterans’ benefits handled?
We will notify both agencies. Social Security pays a lump sum death benefit of $255 directly to the spouse. Veterans receive cash benefits based on disability or other requirements.
We prefer Cremation. Do you provide cremation services?
Yes. We provide a full-range of cremation options.
What happens if the death occurs while out of state?
You should call our funeral home as soon as possible. Our staff will assist your family in making all of the arrangements.
How do I make advance arrangements?
Contact our funeral home and we would be happy to meet with you to record all of the necessary information. We will keep your prearrangement in our permanent files. One call to us is all that is necessary. You can rest knowing that everything will be taken care of according to your wishes.
What are the eligibility requirements for burials in Arlington National Cemetery?
Please click here to see eligibility requirements. For more information on Veteran Funerals, please visit the Veteran Funeral Web Site.