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Veteran Burial Benefits: Am I Eligible?

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Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces is one of the most admirable ways to serve our country. That’s why laying a veteran to rest should be done with the utmost care and honor.

The authorization of the first ever veteran cemeteries happened in 1862. Since then, the U.S. has developed 155 national military cemeteries and 119 more state territory cemeteries.

Although these burial grounds are well-known and long established, many veteran families don’t realize the benefits that come with them.

At Busch, it’s our mission to provide the men and women who answered our nation’s call with the most prestigious honor and send-off—and we believe the veteran families we serve should be made aware of the benefits available to them prior to planning services.

Learn more about Busch's veteran service offerings in the video below and then continue reading to find out what veteran burial benefits you’re eligible for and how you can apply.

HubSpot Video

What Are Veteran Burial Benefits?  

Many families of veterans are unaware of the broad eligibility and benefits the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration has to offer. At no cost to the family, veteran burial benefits include:

Who Is Eligible for Veteran Burial Benefits?

Surprisingly enough, veteran burial benefits are extremely underutilized. In fact, census data shows during the fiscal year 2020, nearly 60% of veterans did not receive any veteran burial benefits.

Many families aren’t using the veteran burial benefits available to them mainly because they don’t realize they are eligible. See below for the list of eligibility and evidence requirements provided by the National Cemetery Association.

Eligibility Requirements

The following information was pulled from the Department of Veteran Affairs in 2022.

  • 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, AND
    • 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 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 pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date or death, OR
    • The veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.

Keep in mind, the VA does not pay burial benefits if the deceased:

  • Died during active military service, OR
  • Was a member of Congress who died while holding office, OR
  • Was a Federal prisoner. 

If your loved one lost their life in combat, the VA will reimburse the family for some of the funeral costs.

Evidence Requirements

If no advance preparations are made, it’s important for families to still discuss end-of-life requests and understand where military discharge papers are located. If a family isn’t sure where certain records are, the NCA will reach out to the National Personnel Records Center or the Veterans Benefit Administration.  

The following information was pulled from the Department of Veteran Affairs in 2022.

  • Acceptable proof of death as specified in 38 CFR 3.211., AND
  • Receipted bills that show that you made payment in whole or part, OR
  • A statement of account, preferably on the printed billhead of the funeral director or cemetery owner. The statement of account must show:
    • The name of the deceased veteran for whom the services and merchandise were furnished, AND
    • The nature and cost of the services and merchandise, AND
    • All credits, AND
    • The amount of the unpaid balance, if any.

Once you’ve identified you’re eligible and have compiled all the above records, you can apply for veteran burial benefits online at va.gov. And once you’re ready, consider preplanning your loved one’s veteran services. That way when the time of need comes, funeral planning is already done—one less thing a family must worry about when they're venturing through grief.   

Busch Can Help You Plan Your Loved One’s Veteran Services

At Busch, we offer extensive memorialization options to honor the lives of our fallen heroes. Our funeral directors and pre-planning specialists are happy to help you research eligibility for veteran burial benefits. Contact us when you’re ready to plan veteran services for your loved one.

Robert Solich
Robert Solich
Thirty years of experience helping people on the hardest day of their lives, and one of Busch's longest-standing staff members. Bob provides valuable guidance to families with his expertise and compassion. He serves on two non-profit boards in the greater Cleveland area, promoting healthcare and the arts. Proudly serving Busch families since 1983.
 

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