The VA wants to raise awareness of some little-used benefits: burial benefits. According to the VA, only a fraction of eligible veterans have taken advantage of burial benefits and been buried in a VA-managed or -supported cemetery.
What Are VA Burial Benefits?
Eligible veterans have the option to be buried in a VA, state or tribal veterans cemetery. These burials come at no cost to the veterans’ families. In addition, the VA will provide those who choose to be laid to rest in a private cemetery with a headstone, marker, or medallion.
Veterans who die of service-connected conditions and choose to be buried in private cemeteries will also receive burial allowances. The VA also states that veterans who die in a VA medical facility of non-service-connected conditions are also eligible for limited burial and plot allowances at a private cemetery.
Who Is Eligible for Burial Benefits?
Those who are eligible for VA burial benefits include:
- All veterans discharged for something other than dishonorable conditions
- Spouses or surviving spouses of eligible veterans
- Dependent children
Burial Benefits Are Underutilized
VA officials say that last year only 20% of eligible veterans were buried in a VA- managed or supported cemetery. Additionally, less than half of those who qualified for a burial allowance or headstone used their benefits.
Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Matt Quinn encourages veterans to take advantage of these benefits saying, “It’s that final benefit that the veteran has earned and that the nation can show to that veteran’s family appreciation for their sacrifice and service.”
Vets Can Apply for Eligibility Now
The VA encourages veterans to apply for eligibility and make their wishes known before they die to ease the emotional and financial burden on their families. Quinn said that vets should consider applying for eligibility as part of their estate planning.
Vets can learn more about how to apply for eligibility on the VA’s website.
We are Veterans Helping Veterans
The Veterans Legal Assistance Program’s goal is to support veterans and those serving in active-duty, as well as their families. We want to inform you of the issues affecting the Veteran community and connect you with people we trust.
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