Veterans Death Benefits
About Veterans Death Benefits
Also called Veterans Survivor's Benefits, these funds are paid directly to the family from the federal government. How much each family receives depends on the individual and how he or she died. Here are a few of the options available. A complete list can be found on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web site. Information can also be found by calling (800) 827-1000. Individuals can apply for these benefits by filing form VA Form 21-534. Copies of either a marriage license or children's birth certificates should be included when filing, as well as proof of the service person's death
Several types of burial benefits and allowances are given to deceased, honorably discharged veterans and their families:
- $300 reimbursement for burial expenses for a veteran if he or she was receiving a VA pension or disability benefit
- $2,000 reimbursement if the veteran died during active duty or from a service-related injury
- $300 burial plot allowance for the individual who was not interred at a national cemetery but received VA pension or disability benefits or died at a VA hospital or VA health-care facility
- Transportation allowance will be reimbursed for veterans who died at a VA hospital or VA health-care facility
- A U.S. flag
- A headstone or marker purchased and shipped at the federal government's expense to the burial site. The application for the headstone can be filled out prior to the service person's discharge and placed with discharge papers or the family can request one on the individual's behalf
Veterans can be buried in a national cemetery such as [[Images Arlington National Cemetery|Arlington National Cemetery]] for free. This service includes the plot, a burial flag, opening and closing of the grave, care of site, government headstone and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Veterans who wish to be cremated can also receive the same treatment as those who are buried in a national cemetery. Similar care and cost is available for the individual's spouses and dependents.
Veterans may also be buried in a private cemetery and may be eligible to receive certain allowances and reimbursements, but will not have their entire burial paid for by the VA. Spouses and dependents are not covered as well if burial takes place in a private cemetery.
How to Apply
Claimants should complete Form 21-534 Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child
The VA offers many more programs for veterans and their families. Each branch of the military may also have different information specific to your needs. For example, the VA does not cover burial at sea, but the U.S. Navy Mortuary Affairs office does provide specifics about that.