Burial Allowance

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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 (including cremation) and funeral expense allowance, and (2) a plot interment allowance.

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.

Nonservice-Related Death - VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses, and a $300 plot-interment allowance.

Veterans' Benefit Act of 2010 Update: For deaths which occur after Oct. 1, 2011 the VA will pay up to $700 toward burial and funeral expenses, and a $700 plot-interment allowance.

Eligibility

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  and
  • 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  or
  • 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  or
  • the veteran died in a VA hospital, in a nursing home under VA contract, or while in an approved state nursing home.

Application

You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits.  You should attach proof of the veteran's military service (DD 214), a death certificate, and copies of funeral and burial bills you have paid.

Time Limits for Making Claims

Concerning service-connected deaths, there is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims. In other deaths, claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation.

Note: If burial expenses were paid by the deceased's employer or a state agency, the burial allowance will not be reimbursed to those making interment arrangements.

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