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
Reimbursements are generally described as two payments:
- a burial (including cremation) and funeral expense allowance
- a plot interment allowance.
Service-Related Death - The maximum service-connected burial allowance is $2,000. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA may reimburse some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased Veteran’s remains.
Nonservice-Related Death - VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $762 for a plot.
VA Hospitalized Veteran - If the Veteran was hospitalized by VA when he or she died VA will pay a $762 burial allowance and $762 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 also have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
- the Veteran died as a result of a service-connected 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 instead to receive his or her full military retirement or disability pay, OR
- the Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
- 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, OR
- the Veteran had an original or reopened 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, OR
- the Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA–approved state nursing home.
Who Can Receive the Benefit
- Veteran’s surviving spouse; OR
- The survivor of a legal union* between the deceased Veteran and the survivor; OR
- The Veteran’s children, regardless of age; OR
- The Veteran’s parents or surviving parent; OR
- The executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased Veteran.
*Legal union means a formal relationship between the decedent and the survivor that existed on the date of the Veteran's death, which was recognized under the law of the State in which the couple formalized the relationship and evidenced by the State's issuance of documentation memorializing the relationship.
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 call VA toll-free within the U.S. by dialing 800-827-1000. If you are located in the local dialing area of a VA regional office, you can also call us by checking your local telephone directory. For the hearing impaired, our TDD number is 711. You should mail your application to the VA regional office located in your state.