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Featured FAQ: Do I Qualify for Veterans’ Burial Allowance

May 18, 2015

After the death of a loved one, families of veterans often want to know if they qualify for financial aid to ease the burden of burial expenses. While there are burial allowances available from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for dependents and survivors of eligible veterans, several eligibility requirements apply.

What are VA burial allowances?

veteranflagVA burial allowances are flat rate financial benefits for eligible veterans’ burial and funeral costs which are generally paid at the maximum amount authorized by law. Following a regulation change in 2014, the program has been simplified to pay eligible survivors quickly and efficiently. In fact, eligible surviving spouses of record are paid automatically upon notification of the veteran’s death, without the need to submit a claim. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs may also grant additional benefits, including the plot or interment allowance and transportation allowance, if it receives a claim for these benefits. If the veteran dies while traveling at VA expense for the purpose of examination, treatment or care, VA will pay burial, funeral, plot or interment allowances, and transportation expenses.

What are the eligibility requirements?

First of all, eligible veterans must have been honorably discharged. 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.

How much does the VA pay for burial allowances?

For a service-connected death: if the veteran died on or after September 11, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $2,000; if the veteran died before September 11, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $1,500. 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.

For a non-service-connected death: if the veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $745 for a plot; if the veteran died on or after October 1, 2013, but before October 1, 2014, VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $734 for a plot; if the veteran died on or after October 1, 2012, but before October 1, 2013, VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $722 for a plot.

In addition, there are higher non-service-connected death rates payable if the veteran was hospitalized by VA when he or she died. If the veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, VA will pay a $745 burial allowance and $745 for a plot; if such a veteran died on or after October 1, 2013, but before October 1, 2013, VA will pay a $734 burial allowance and $734 for a plot; if the veteran died on or after October 1, 2012, but before October 1, 2013, VA will pay a $722 burial allowance and $722 for a plot.

Also, if the death occurred while the veteran was properly hospitalized by VA, or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the veteran’s remains may be reimbursed.

How do I apply?

We will be pleased to help you determine what benefits you may be eligible for.  Please contact us at 1-800-Keohane or check here for additional information.

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