Veterans Administration (VA) Benefits For Military and Retired Personnel

va.funeral.jpgThere are many benefits available to those who are veterans and those who have served in the US Armed Forces. Additionally they were spouses and minor children are also eligible for a free burial in a national cemetery for those meeting the requirements. These benefits include a grave marker, flag, and perpetual care.

According to The federal benefits for veterans and dependence publication those veterans who have been honorably discharged or separated from active duty, have completed the required period of service, or who died on active duty, are eligible for burial in one of the VA's 113 national cemeteries. Spouses and dependent children of eligible living and deceased veterans or current armed forces members are also eligible. Grave sites cannot be reserved in these national cemeteries. Funeral directors or other professionals making burial arrangements must apply at the time the death occurred.

The national cemetery system does not conduct burials on weekends when offices are closed. A weekend caller will be directed to one of three local offices which remain open for scheduling burials for the up coming week.

What Is Provided

The VA provides headstones and markers for grave sites anywhere in the world. Bronze, granite or marble material is available. Headstones are engraved with the name, year of birth and death and their associated branch Of service. Optional items may be engraved such as military grade, war service, months and dates of birth and death, the emblem reflective of one’s belief in faith such as a Christian cross, any valor awards received, and the purple heart. Additional items may be engraved at the families expense.

When burial is at one of the national cemeteries, the headstone is ordered by the national cemetery staff who will place it on the grave it’s self. When burial occurs in a cemetery other than a national designated cemetery or a states veterans cemetery, the headstone must be applied for separately. It will be shipped at the government expense to the family designated on the application. To this day nine states have no cemetery providing free burial for military veterans and their families.

Unfortunately, many of the other national cemeteries are reaching its peak capacity. For more information about the VA burial rules and policies please contact a local VA office for an up to date information in your state.

The VA will also provide headstones or markers to eligible veterans who is the remains are not available for burial, meaning a funeral service was conducted and nobody was in place. A memorial marker may be provided for placement and another cemetery outside of one of the national designated cemeteries. In such a case, The VA does not pay the cost and is therefore the responsibility of the family. For additional details, contact the Department of veteran affairs in Washington DC.

Certain states do provide public aid funerals for those who have no means of having to pay. This means for a modest amount, the deceased will be provided a casket, grave liner, and graveside service. The cemetery will be reimbursed by the state for one burial site and for the opening and closing of the grave per state law.The amount set aside in most states is really not enough to cover all of the funeral expenses and burial. Visitation and services may not be included. If you should Need financial assistance because of a illness or other misfortune you can consider a prepaid funeral arrangement which any funeral director can assist you with.