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

Funeral or Celebration of Life: How to Decide What’s Right for Your Loved One

When a loved one passes away, it is important to honor their life with a memorable final goodbye. In the past, society has turned to funeral services based on religious or cultural traditions to ...

Funeral Attire Do’s and Don’ts: Six Indispensable Tips Everyone Needs to Know

If you’re planning to attend a funeral or memorial service, you may be wondering about the rules of etiquette—what to say to the bereaved, how to extend condolences, and where to send flowers, for ...

Avoiding Hidden Sodium: Seven Strategies to Improve Your Diet

Consuming too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease, and other health issues. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodi...

Your Guide to Estate Planning: Seven Common Mistakes and Mishaps to Avoid

Estate planning is about getting your affairs in order for the end of your life and beyond. While it can be uncomfortable to consider end-of-life wishes, no one will live forever. Whether you are ...

Take These Practical Steps to Plan for Your Pet’s Care When You Pass Away

Have you ever considered what would happen to your pets if you died or became seriously ill? They have no one to advocate for them unless you do, so don’t leave them out of your estate planning e...

Digital Compassion: Seven Things to Know About Expressing Sympathies at a Virtual Funeral

Live streaming allows mourners to take part in memorial ceremonies at any time, from anywhere. While the COVID-19 health crisis ushered in the dire need for virtual funeral solutions, other barri...

Casket vs. Coffin: Twelve Things to Know About These Important Memorial Products

Funeral planning involves many details, including the choice of a coffin or a casket. Although coffins and caskets may look the same to the untrained eye, they are vastly different. Please read on...

The Rooms in a Funeral Home Perform Many Important Functions

Funeral homes are designed to be peaceful, comfortable places for family and friends to gather for support and reflection. A comforting environment, accessibility, ample space, and caring staff a...

Announcing a Funeral Service? Follow These Helpful Guidelines

A funeral announcement is a message or invitation that shares the news of a loved one’s passing. It can be digital or hard copy and often provides information about commemorative events that are ...

Can You Pass a Funeral Procession? Four Important Rules Regarding Safe Vehicle Operation

Do you know the rules of the road when you encounter a funeral procession or participate in one? If you are unsure, you’re not alone. Many motorists don’t know the proper protocols for this situa...