VA burial allowances are cash allowances paid to an eligible veteran's family to help defray burial and funeral costs. VA will pay a different amount depending on whether the death was considered service-connected or not, or if the veteran was hospitalized by the VA at the time of death.
Burial or interment in a VA National Cemetery or in Arlington National Cemetery is free. Many states and tribes also have veteran's cemeteries that provide free or inexpensive burials to veterans and their immediate families.
For burial in a private cemetery, the VA will reimburse a veteran's family for some of the costs.
Reimbursements are generally described as two payments:
- a burial (including cremation) and funeral expense allowance
- a plot interment allowance - the cost of placing the remains into a final resting place
Service-Related Death - The maximum service-connected burial allowance is $2,000. If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA reimburses some or all of the cost of transporting the remains.
Non Service-Related Death - VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $893 for a plot.
VA Hospitalized Veteran - If the veteran was hospitalized by VA when they died, VA will pay a $893 burial allowance and $893 for a plot.
Indigent Veteran With No Next-of-Kin - The VA will furnish either a casket or cremation urn for interment in either a national, state, or tribal veterans cemetery.
The veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, and they must have:
- Died as a result of a service-connected disability;
- Been receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death;
- Been entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but chose to receive their full military retirement or disability pay instead;
- Died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility;
- Died while on authorized travel to or from VA treatment;
- Had a claim for VA compensation or pension pending at the time of death and would have been entitled to benefits from a date prior to the date of death based on that claim;
- Died on or after Oct. 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA–approved state nursing home.
Who Can Receive the Benefit
- Surviving spouse
- The survivor of a legally recognized union
- The children, regardless of age
- The veteran's parent
- The executor or administrator of the veteran's estate
Eligible surviving spouses of record are paid automatically upon notification of the veteran’s death, without the need to submit a claim. VA may grant additional benefits, including the plot or interment allowance and transportation allowance, if it receives a claim for these benefits.
If necessary, you can apply by filling out VA Form 21P-530, Application for Burial Benefits. You should attach a copy of the veteran’s military discharge document (DD 214 or equivalent) and a death certificate. If you are claiming transportation expenses, please attach a receipt for the expenses paid.
You can get help from your funeral director, local or state VA office or by calling VA at 800-827-1000.
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