Five Common Questions (And Answers) About Veterans Burial Benefits

By: Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
Sunday, July 14, 2019

Funerals, memorials and celebrations of life offer opportunities to honor and recognize a service member’s heroism and contributions. Whether you’re making final arrangements for a deceased veteran or are a veteran making your own funeral arrangements, this article will help you to determine which of the many benefits to which you may be entitled.

From burial allowances to 21-gun salutes, military service members and their families have a lot more options that you may realize. Here are five frequently asked questions about veteran’s burial benefits:

1.     What documentation is required to verify military service? A “Report of Separation from the Armed Forces of the United States” (discharge papers) is required to verify military service. This report, also known as the DD214, or its equivalent must be submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If this report isn’t available, a Standard Form 180 can be sent to the Military National Personnel Record Center. A copy of the Report of Separation will then mailed to the veteran, deceased veteran’s next of kin, or other persons or organizations that are authorized to receive it. Your funeral director will be happy to assist you with securing, competing and submitting all required forms.

2.     What are military funeral honors? All active service members and veterans who did not receive a dishonorable discharge are entitled to free military funeral honors. The ceremony involves draping an American flag over the casket or beside the urn and the playing of Taps by a lone bugler or a recording. After Taps is played, two uniformed military personnel honor the veteran by folding the flag and presenting it to the next of kin. A rifle volley, also known as a 21-gun salute, may also be requested.

3.     What type of reimbursement or allowance does the VA provide for funeral expenses? The VA offers an allowance to cover a portion of funeral and burial/cremation costs. If a veteran dies due to a service-connected cause, the family of a veteran may be eligible for an allowance of up to $2,000. For a non-service-connected death, the VA will pay a smaller specified amount to the family. Interment, burial/cremation and funeral allowance amounts are dependent on a number of factors, including the date of death and whether or not the veteran was under VA hospital care at the time.  For the most updated information, please review the Veterans Affairs fact sheet.

4.     Are veterans required to be buried in a National Cemetery? Veterans and active duty military are free to be laid to rest in any cemetery of their choosing, not just a military-specific burial place. In the U.S., there are 135 National Cemeteries located in 40 states. Veterans who were discharged in any way but dishonorable, active duty military personnel, spouses, and their children may all be laid to rest in one of these cemeteries. Burial in a National Cemetery requires specific documentation regarding the deceased’s discharge, branch and service. When submitting the paperwork to the VA, you can express your preference for a specific National Cemetery, but there’s no guarantee of availability in that location.

5.     Who’s eligible to receive a headstone or grave marker? Even if your veteran loved one is being buried in a private cemetery, the VA can furnish a veteran’s headstone or grave marker at no cost. Headstones and markers are available in bronze, granite, or marble. If you choose to purchase your own headstone or marker, you can request a free bronze medallion to affix to it. These medallions are inscribed with the word “Veteran” at the top and include the individual’s branch of service at the bottom.

At Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services, we value the many sacrifices our veterans and their families have made in order to preserve our freedom. With decades of experience planning funerals for thousands of service members, we are experts in making sure the veterans in our care receive the deeply respectful, dignified funeral honors they deserve. If you need assistance planning a military funeral for a loved one, please reach out to our caring, attentive staff. It’s always our pleasure to serve you.

About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization serving  three states, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. In all aspects of the funeral process, we strive to be the absolute best and are honored to help preserve our clients’ legacies for future generations. With three convenient locations serving both North and West Philadelphia, as well as Trenton and Drexel Hill, it is always our pleasure to be of service. Please visit our website for more information.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Digital Grief: Addressing Death Over Social Media

The digital age has made it easy to share everything, all of the time. In recent years, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms have become widely used for all sorts of milest...

A Labor of Love: Helpful Tips for Choosing the Music for a Funeral

“Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories.” – Stevie Wonder Choosing the right songs for a funeral can feel like a formidable task. After all, music plays a critical function in the f...

Today’s Senior Independent Living Communities Aren’t Like They Used to Be

As senior living communities continue to evolve, one thing is clear: today’s mature adults want to remain active and engaged. Today’s seniors represent an immense and influential demographic that’...

How to Host the Perfect Funeral Reception without Breaking the Bank

It’s customary to host a reception following a funeral or memorial service. This event gives mourners the chance to support each other, share fond memories, and celebrate the life of the decea...

Depression in the Elderly: Do You Know the Signs?

We all get the blues from time to time. Usually, we bounce back. But when those negative feelings persist and begin to interfere with our daily activities for two weeks or longer, depression may be...

Home Renovations for Seniors: What’s Best for You?

Although medical advances are keeping seniors healthy and active longer, aging still comes with its share of challenges. Eyesight and hearing tend to diminish, falls occur more frequently, and a wa...

When Grief is Overwhelming: A Guide to Coping with a Sudden Death

“Sometimes, you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss Dealing with loss is always emotionally challenging. It can take a long time to get to a place of...

Taking Care of You: Helpful Resources for Caregivers

Few people plan to be caregivers for their loved ones. It’s a role that often comes on suddenly following an emergency or evolves over time as a result of an ongoing medical condition. In either ca...

The Ins and Outs of the Age-Friendly Health System Movement

The Age-Friendly Health System is changing what it means to age in America. Self-described by its founders as a “movement to recruit and support entire healthcare systems to focus on the areas of m...

Share More Than Wealth with a Meaningful Legacy Letter

What do children of millionaires most wish to inherit from their parents? You might be surprised to learn that it’s not money. In a survey by Wells Fargo Private Bank, Generation Z and Millennial ...