Veterans who were honorably discharged are entitled to VA burial benefits, including money given to survivors for funeral expenses. Your loved one may also be buried in a VA national cemetery and receive funeral honors. As of 2014, the VA may pay you without a written application.
Resources for Veteran Burial and Funeral Honors
VA burial benefits can help you plan and pay for a burial or a memorial service in a VA national cemetery. Veterans who bravely served our country have earned these benefits and have earned the right to be laid to rest in a VA national cemetery if that is their wish.
Victims of mesothelioma who have served our country may be eligible for burial benefits and other VA benefits that can help pay for the cost of funeral expenses.
To qualify for VA burial benefits, the deceased must meet certain eligibility requirements established by the VA. For example, veterans must not have been dishonorably discharged.
The burial allowance for a service-related death is $2,000, while the allowance for a non-service related death is a $300 burial allowance and a plot allowance of $749.
Death Related to Military Service
If a veteran’s death was related to military service, the VA will pay up to $2,000 for burial and funeral expenses if the veteran’s death was after September 11th, 2001. If the death occurred prior to September 11th, 2001, the VA will pay $1,500.
If your loved one has recently died of mesothelioma (after 2001), you may be entitled to receive the maximum allowable amount. The VA may also reimburse certain transportation costs if your loved one is buried in a VA national cemetery.
Death Not Related to Military Service
If a veteran’s death was not related to military service, the VA will pay up to $762 for a plot and a burial reimbursement of up to $300.
If your loved one was a veteran who died from mesothelioma, it is likely related to asbestos exposure during their time in service. However, even if it was not, you may still be entitled to burial funds.
Veterans must meet certain eligibility requirements to receive VA burial benefits. For example, the veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged. Additionally, at least one of the following requirements must be met.
If your loved one died of mesothelioma, it is likely that at least one of the following occurred:
- Your loved one was receiving or was eligible to receive a VA pension at their time of death
- Mesothelioma was related to your loved ones time in service
- Your loved one died in a VA hospital or while receiving VA contracted care
- Your loved one died while traveling under proper VA authorization
- Your loved one had a pending claim and was found to be entitled to compensation
Funeral honors consist of an honor guard detail that will perform a ceremony at the funeral of the deceased. Funeral honors come at no cost to the family of the deceased.
During the ceremony, the honor guard detail will fold and present the American flag to the next of kin, with Taps played by a bugler or via electronic recording. At least one of the honor guard detail members will be a representative of the deceased veteran’s branch of service.
To be eligible for funeral honors, the deceased must meet at least one of these requirements:
- Service member on active duty
- Service member in the Selected Reserve
- Former service members that were not dishonorably discharged
- Former service members that completed at least one term of enlistment and were not dishonorably discharged
- Former service members discharged due to an injury or illness that began during the line of duty
Requesting & Receiving Funeral Honors
Generally, the family of the deceased can request funeral honors through their funeral director, who will coordinate with the National Cemetery Administration staff. The funeral honors program is run through the Department of Defense.
To receive funeral honors at the veteran’s funeral, they typically must be arranged 48 hours before the service.
The VA will provide a headstone or marker at no charge for the unmarked grave of any eligible deceased veteran in any cemetery around the world. The VA will honor this request no matter where the deceased veteran is buried.
Applications are coordinated by the funeral director through the National Cemetery Administration, which is a department under the VA.
The following individuals can apply for a headstone:
- Next of kin
- Authorized representative on behalf of the deceased
- Authorized representative on behalf of the next of kin
If the veteran is buried in a state, national, post, or veteran’s cemetery, the headstone will be ordered by cemetery officials, with next of kin providing the information for the inscription.
If the burial is in a private cemetery, the next of kin or authorized applicant must fill out VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker.
Learn More About Burial Benefits and Funeral Honors
If your loved one served in the military and was not dishonorably discharged, you may be entitled to certain VA burial benefits. Benefits may include money to cover funeral expenses and funeral honors.
Our VA-accredited agents can help you find out what benefits you’re entitled to. We can also help you apply for benefits.