As an honorably discharged veteran, you or your family may be entitled to various death benefits. You must apply for veterans benefits as they are not paid automatically. Contact the VA at www.va.gov or toll-free 800.772.1213.
To facilitate receiving veterans benefits for which you may be eligible, you will need the following:
- Proof of the veteran’s military service (DD214)
- Service serial number
- Marriage license (if applicable)
- Children’s birth certificate (if applicable)
- Certified copy of death certificate
Veterans Burial Allowance
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes a partial reimbursement of eligible veterans burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is service-related, the reimbursement is generally described as two payments:
(1) a burial and funeral expense allowance and (2) a plot interment allowance.
You may be entitled to a VA burial allowance if:
- You paid for a veterans 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.
In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
- The veteran died because of a service-related disability OR
- The veteran was getting 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 in a VA hospital or while in a nursing home under VA contract.
The VA will pay an allowance toward burial and funeral expenses along with a plot interment allowance for a service-related death. If the death is non-service related, the VA will pay an allowance toward burial expenses. Burial allowances are paid toward burials at veterans cemeteries only.
Headstones and Markers
The VA furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker to mark the unmarked grave of an eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world.
- Flat bronze or granite markers and upright marble headstones (at VA cemeteries only) are available.
- The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. The cemetery must certify that the type chosen is permitted on the grave of the deceased.
- Niche emblems are also available to mark the columbariums used for inurnment of cremated remains.
Most veterans are eligible for a burial flag. Reservists who are entitled to retirement pay are also eligible to receive a burial flag.