Funerals For Veterans - What Are They Entitled To?
Veterans are a part of our lives. Because of this, I took the time to dig up
information regarding a proper veteran funeral. There are details below about
what the veteran is entitled to and what the family is entitled to.
Each and every veteran is entitled to a burial in a national cemetery, a grave
marker and a flag. There is no charge for opening or closing the grave, a vault
or liner, or setting the marker in a national cemetery. Normally, the family is
responsible for all other funeral charges. There are varying degrees of the
costs associated with a veteran's funeral depending on when the death occurred.
If the death occurred during active duty, all funeral expenses will be paid by
the military. In addition, the next of kin is entitled to a death gratuity of $12,000.
If the death occurred during a service related injury, the family is given a
$2,000 burial allowance. If the veteran was in a VA facility, the military will
pay for the body transport.
If the death occurred in a non-service related capacity in a VA facility or
while collecting VA pension or disability compensation, the military will pay
$300 for burial allowances.
If the death occurs outside a VA facility or while not receiving military
pension or compensation, then the veteran only gets the lot in the national
cemetery, the vault, interment, a marker and a flag. The family bears all other
For a spouse and dependents of an eligible veteran, they are entitled to burial
in a national cemetery. This applies even if the veteran is not buried there.
Adult children of veterans are entitled to burial benefits only if they are
disabled and dependent.
Other people may be eligible for the veterans' burial benefits if the person has
provided military-related service. Members of the Reserves and National Guard
with 20+ years of service are eligible. Some Public Health Service personnel are
also eligible. Make sure to inquire if you think you are entitled to these benefits.
Markers are available to all veterans, spouses and dependent children buried in
a national cemetery. The markers will be set without charge to the family. The
family must pay for the installation cost if buried in a non-government
cemetery. Niche markers for cremated remains are also available.
The markers must have the inscription with the name, branch of service, year of
birth and year of death. It may include the emblems of belief, rank and decorations
earned. If the family would like to pay extra, additional items such as nicknames,
etc. may be added but the VA must approve it.
A little known fact about being buried in a national cemetery is that you cannot
reserve space ahead of time. Arrangements can only be made at the time of death.
This may be an issue since there is no guarantee that spouses will have plots
next to each other.
Burial at sea or the scattering of the cremated remains is available to all
veterans and dependents. This service is provided by the Navy or the U.S. Coast
Guard. A flag is required. If the flag is supplied by the family, it will be
returned. Sea burials are done at the convenience of the military. Because of
this, the family may not witness the sea burial. Bodies awaiting sea burial must
be treated with embalming fluid that lasts at least 60 days. Lastly, a non-sealing
metal casket must be used. The casket must carry 150lbs of extra weight.
With the options that the military offers, it should be a fairly inexpensive and
straightforward process to be buried in a military cemetery. That is, as long as
the veteran meets the requirements put forth by the military. Hopefully this
article serves to educate you about the options that veterans and their families
have when it comes to a military burial.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to