Death Benefits and Burial Programs that Veterans Need to Know About

By: Melissa Descant
Thursday, July 18, 2019

If you served in the military, then you are naturally entitled to veteran benefits. There are many out there, especially when it comes to death benefits and burial programs. Understanding what programs are available can help you to better determine what your benefits entail so you can better plan for your future. 

One of the biggest things to note about veteran benefits is that 2014 made a big change to the process. No longer do spouses need to pay out of pocket for the upfront costs and get reimbursed. Rather, you can now enjoy automatic payments from the VA right away. There's no written application process, which means quicker compensation. This means, overall, less hassle for the surviving family members during the funeral process. 

There are two main types of death benefits that veterans can receive. These are service-related death benefits and non-service related death benefits. Let's take a closer look at what each of these is below so that you can better understand how to approach the benefits process and what's going to be covered. 

Service-Related Death Benefits

The surviving spouse or family members of veterans who are killed in the line of duty will receive up to $2,000 to put towards the funeral costs associated with the burial of their loved one. This amount is set for all deaths after the date of September 11, 2001. Any service-related deaths prior to this date will receive reimbursement up to $1,500. If the service member is buried in one of the VA national cemeteries, the cost of transporting the deceased body can be partially or fully reimbursed.

Non-Service Related Death Benefits

If a veteran passes away due to any other cause than active service, the VA will provide non-service related death benefits for the family members. As of October 1, 2018, payouts will be in the amount of $780 to put towards funeral expenses like embalming. This is assuming that the veteran was hospitalized at a VA center. If the veteran was not hospitalized at the VA center, then the surviving family members will receive up to $300 in benefits. On top of this benefit, the family will also receive $780 towards the plot fee for anywhere besides a VA cemetery. 

For deaths dated between December 1, 2001, and September 30, 2018, there are different benefits. These include $300 towards the burial and an additional $300 towards the burial plot. These amounts can vary depending on whether or not the veteran was hospitalized at the VA center or not. It's a great idea to check with your local VA center to see what benefit amounts your family will qualify for. 

Understanding Who Is Eligible For Payout

In order for you to receive benefits from the VA, you'll need to be eligible. There are a few different eligibility requirements that you must meet. These include: 

The veteran was discharged due to any other reason than a dishonorable discharge. 
You paid for the veteran's funeral expenses and didn't get any other reimbursement from any government agency.

Benefits Of Getting Buried In A National Cemetery

When death occurs, there are many expenses, including that of a mortician. As a service member, you can receive some excellent benefits when you choose to get buried in one of the 100 national cemeteries. Those who are eligible are able to receive the following benefits:

Grave Site In Any Open Plot
Opening Of The Grave
Closing Of The Grave
Perpetual Care
Government Headstone / Marker
Burial Flag
Presidential Memorial Certificate

Getting Prepared

It's important to note that planning ahead of time for the burial service can help to reduce the amount of stress going on at the time of death. While it's not actually possible to reserve a grave with the Department Of Veterans Affairs, there are some other things that you can do to prepare. You should stop by your local VA to discuss your burial options. This way, you know what your options are and can select what you would like best. 

It's helpful to collect all of your military information, such as your discharge papers. Having all of this information in one easily accessible place can make life much easier when applying for the burial benefits. While you may not be able to reserve a specific gravesite at a national cemetery, you can contact your desired cemetery ahead of time. They can let you know how many spots are available and expedite the burial process when death occurs.

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


Please wait

Previous Posts

The Top Five Reasons Why It Is Important to Follow Funeral Etiquette

The passing of someone special is always difficult to cope with, and funerals often bring all the related feelings out into the open. Gathering family and friends together to remember a departed pe...

What Are the Differences Between a Traditional Burial and Cremation?

The death of a loved one is a very sad and emotional time for the family. Many decisions must be made in a short time, and that can become overwhelming. Fortunately, funeral directors are available...

What Are the Essential Characteristics to Look for in a Funeral Home?

Losing a loved one is a trying time for anyone, and every person will deal with the loss in a different way. Even though it is hard to imagine your own funeral, there are ways that you are able to ...

Approaches to Help on Special Anniversaries After the Passing of a Loved One

Having a loved one pass away is a difficult experience for everyone in the family. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that your loved one will no longer be around in your life. Even though th...

What Are The Financial Benefits of Getting A Funeral Plan?

Funeral homes and their directors tend to be an afterthought to the general public. Many people do not think about the services provided by them until they need them. Unfortunately, that means they...

How Does Funeral Insurance Work?

Throughout our lives, we purchase several types of insurance, all equally important and necessary. We need insurance for our life, health, car, and home, but have you ever considered purchasing fun...

Ways to Help Children Cope with the Loss of a Loved One

When a loved one dies, a child can show and feel their grief and sadness in various ways. How a child copes with the loss depends on many different factors such as their age, the support they recei...

Important Documents to Have in Place as You Get Older

There are a number of important documents to have in place as you get older that will help your loved ones when your life comes to a close. Death is a part of life. Accepting that we're all on this...

What Different Types of Pre-Planning Funeral Arrangements Are Available?

When a friend or family member passes on, the responsibility can fall on you to take care of their funerary plans. Arranging the funeral of a loved one is a terribly difficult task. You could be fe...

Cremation and Other Trends in the Funeral Industry

There have been a lot of changes in the funeral industry in recent years. For decades the types of services that were provided remained consistent, but that’s no longer the case. Many families are ...