Monday, October 1, 2007

Veteran Burial Benefits

Burial Expense Reimbursement
Families should prepare in advance by discussing cemetery options, collecting the veteran's military information including discharge papers (DD-214 form), and by contacting the cemetery where burial is desired.

VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran's burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service-related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: (1) a burial and funeral expense allowance, and (2) a plot interment allowance.

Service-Related Death - VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001. VA will pay up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 10, 2001. If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.

Nonservice-Related Death - VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses, and a $300 plot-interment allowance.

You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:
· 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.
In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
· 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 in a VA hospital, in a nursing home under VA contract, or while in an approved state nursing home.

You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits. You should attach proof of the veteran's military service (DD 214), a death certificate, and copies of funeral and burial bills you have paid.

Time Limits for Making Claims
Concerning service-connected deaths, there is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims. In other deaths, claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation.
Note: If burial expenses were paid by the deceased's employer or a state agency, the burial allowance will not be reimbursed to those making interment arrangements.

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