If you are a service member or veteran or a family member of someone who served, you might wonder about veteran cremation benefits. Here’s what you need to know about U.S. Veterans funeral benefits, including the costs and covered services. 

What You Need to Know About Veteran Cremation Benefits

  • The VA provides a burial allowance to help cover cremation costs, including basic services, transportation, and cremation containers. This allowance is reimbursed to family members after the veteran’s death but may not cover the entire cost.
  • The burial and funeral expense allowance helps cover funeral services, including viewing and memorial services. Additionally, the VA covers the cost of burial plots or interment in national cemeteries, including inurnment of cremated remains.
  • The VA offers military funeral honors, including a flag presentation, “Taps,” a military escort, a free headstone or marker, perpetual care in national cemeteries, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate for eligible veterans.

Cremation Benefits for Veterans

Cremation and burial benefits depend on various factors, including the length of service, whether the veteran died at a qualified VA facility, and other factors. 

Here’s general information about veteran’s burial expenses. 

 

Cremation expenses

The VA provides a burial allowance that can be used to help cover cremation costs. This includes the basic cremation service, transportation of the body, and cremation containers. This burial allowance is reimbursed to the family members following the veteran’s death. Burial allowances may not cover the entire cost of cremation. 

Funeral costs

The burial and funeral expense allowance can help cover the costs of a funeral service, including any viewing or memorial services. Again, this allowance is reimbursed to a close family member of the deceased and may not cover all funeral costs.

Plot or interment costs

If the veteran is to be buried in a national cemetery, the VA covers the burial plot or interment cost. For cremation, this includes the cost of an inurnment of the cremated remains in a columbarium.

Grave marker

The VA provides a free headstone or marker for eligible veterans, which can be used for veterans buried in a private cemetery, not just national cemeteries.

Perpetual care

National cemeteries provide perpetual care at no cost to the family, ensuring the burial site is maintained indefinitely.

view of military cemetery - veterans funeral benefits

Services for Deceased Veterans and Armed Forces Members

Again, there are a variety of factors that determine a veteran’s death benefits. Here are some services your loved one may be eligible to receive. 

Military funeral honors

The VA provides military funeral honors, including a flag presentation, playing of “Taps,” and a military escort for the service.

Burial flag

The family receives a U.S. flag to drape over the casket or accompany the urn, which is later presented to the next of kin.

Presidential Memorial Certificate

The family may receive a certificate signed by the current President to honor the veteran’s service.

Cemetery benefits

The veteran and their spouse may receive burial in a VA national cemetery, including the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Some states offer additional benefits, such as burial in a state veterans cemetery, which may have additional services and allowances.

How to Apply for Veteran Burial Benefits

Applying for reimbursement of funeral and cemetery expenses involves contacting the Department of Veterans Affairs and submitting an application, necessary forms, and death certificate. 

Funeral homes often assist with coordinating benefits and submitting required documentation to the VA. If you are planning a veteran end-of-life service in the Delaware Valley and the greater Philadelphia area, contact the Philadelphia Cremation Society. We offer affordable cremation services and will ensure that the sacrifices made by veterans are honored with respect and dignity.