Veterans Administration Burial Allowances
VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran's burial
and funeral costs. When the cause of
death is not service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two
payments: (1) a burial and funeral
expense allowance, and (2) a plot or interment allowance.
All veterans are
entitled to a free burial in a national cemetery and a grave marker. This
eligibility also extends to some civilians who have provided military-related
service and some Public Health Service personnel. Spouses and dependent children
also are entitled to a lot and marker when buried in a national cemetery. There
are no charges for opening or closing the grave, for a vault or liner, or for
setting the marker in a national cemetery. The family generally is responsible
for other expenses, including transportation to the cemetery.
Who Is Eligible?
You may be eligible for a
VA burial allowance if:
you paid for a veteran's burial or funeral, AND
you have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source,
such as the deceased veteran's employer,
the veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
In addition, at least
one of the following conditions must be met:
the veteran died because of a service-related disability,
the veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, Or
the veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided not
to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay,
the veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA
contract at a non-VA facility,
the veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to
or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care,
the veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and
has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date
or death, OR
the veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved
state nursing home.
How Much Does VA Pay?
Service-Related Death. VA will pay up
to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001. VA will pay up to $1,500 for deaths
prior to September 10, 2001. If the
veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of
transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.
VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and
a $300 plot-interment allowance for deaths on or after December 1, 2001. The plot-interment allowance is $150
for deaths prior to December 1, 2001.
If the death happened while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA
contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the
veteran’s remains may be reimbursed.
How Can You Apply?
You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits. You should attach a copy of the
veteran’s military discharge document (DD 214 or equivalent), death certificate,
funeral and burial bills. They should show that you have paid them in full. You may download the form at
Cemetery Burials / Headstones and Markers /
Presidential Memorial Certificates / Burial Flags
Funerals and other Veteran related benefit information can be found at the VA
Web site or by calling the VA.