The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently expanded benefits for burial allowances, funeral costs, and other end-of-life expenses to support families after the loss of their loved one.
Burial and funeral expenses can total more than $9,000, a cost that may be incredibly overwhelming to families who fought mesothelioma, an expensive cancer to treat.
This expansion may help family members of veterans with mesothelioma get the financial assistance they need after their loved one passes.
Learn more about the VA burial benefits expansion and what it means for veterans and their surviving loved ones.
The Mesothelioma Veterans Center can also help families who lost a loved one to mesothelioma access VA benefits. Get help from a VA-accredited claims agent today.
How Did VA Burial Benefits Change?
The VA currently provides some benefits for a veteran’s memorial service, transportation of remains, and burial allowance.
However, the recent expansion announced in September 2023 increased VA burial benefits in a few key ways. Here’s a breakdown of what’s included in the new burial benefits expansion.
Increased Burial Allowances
The VA increased the burial allowance for families who lost veterans due to service-related injuries and non-service-related injuries. This one-time payment is meant to help cover some of the funeral and burial costs.
The VA will pay up to $2,000 in burial allowances for veterans who suffered a service-connected death.
Many U.S. veterans develop and pass away from mesothelioma due to service-related asbestos exposure. As long as the veteran has already submitted claims for VA benefits, their survivors will likely receive this higher amount.
For non-service-connected deaths, the VA increased burial allowances to up to $1,896 for veterans who died on or after October 1, 2023. These allowances may be different for each family.
To ensure they get the support they need, survivors are encouraged to get help applying for VA benefits as soon as possible.
Increased Coverage for Burial at and Transportation to Tribal Cemeteries
The VA expanded its transportation benefits so a veterans’ remains could be buried at Tribal veterans’ cemeteries at no cost. Previously, the transportation costs were only covered if the veteran was buried at a national cemetery.
Additionally, the VA will also provide plot allowances for those buried at Tribal cemeteries.
This change greatly benefits Native Americans who served their country, as well as their family members.
With the expansion of VA transportation benefits and plot allowances to include Tribal cemeteries, a veteran or their loved ones may be able to select a final resting place that more closely aligns with their wishes while also not financially overwhelming them.
Questions About Accessing Mesothelioma VA Burial Benefits
Understanding the wide range of burial benefits offered by the VA can sometimes be confusing for veterans or their surviving family members. Here are some common questions to help you access the support you need.
Who Is Eligible for VA Burial Benefits?
Most surviving family members, such as spouses or dependent children, are eligible to file for VA burial benefits.
VA benefits work on a reimbursement system. In other words, the VA will pay back veterans’ loved ones after the funeral and burial have taken place.
Here are the steps to get burial benefits as a surviving family member:
- Understand your eligibility. You must be a surviving spouse, recognized legal partner, dependent, parent, or estate executor of a veteran who was not dishonorably discharged to apply for these benefits.
- Gather documentation. You will need to submit documents including the veteran’s military records, death certificate, and receipts showing burial and transportation costs.
- Apply for benefits. Whether you apply online or via mail, the Mesothelioma Veterans Center is here to help. Contact us now to get started.
How Long Does It Take To Get VA Burial Benefits?
The amount of time it takes to receive your burial benefits payout will depend on how quickly your application is approved.
The VA states that how long the process will take largely depends on the number of applications they have to review and how much documentation you included with your application.
If your application is approved, you will receive a packet in the mail, including a fact sheet regarding VA burial benefits and a brochure for the National Cemetery Administration.
Is There a Time Limit to Apply for VA Burial Benefits?
For service-connected deaths, there is no time limit to apply for mesothelioma VA burial benefits.
Surviving family members can apply for burial benefits for a non-service-connected death up to two years after a veteran’s death.
Find Financial Support Resources for Veterans
Mesothelioma is a devastating cancer, both physically and financially. These expansions to mesothelioma VA burial benefits could help surviving family members get the assistance they deserve.
The VA provided burial benefits for more than 84,000 American veterans in the last fiscal year.
If you need help applying for VA benefits, including VA survivor benefits, our team at the Mesothelioma Veterans Center may be able to help. We have partnered with VA-accredited claims agent and U.S. veteran Eric Hall, who has 20+ years of experience helping veterans with their benefit payouts.