All veterans are entitled to burial in a national cemetery, a granite or marble headstone (regardless of the cemetery), and a flag. There will be no charges for opening or closing the grave, a vault or liner, or setting the marker in a national cemetery. Usually, a family is responsible for all other expenses including transportation to the cemetery.
- Death during active duty. All funeral expenses will be paid by the military -body preparation, casket, transportation to the place of disposition, interment (if in a national cemetery), and marker. In addition, next-of-kin are entitled to a “death gratuity” of $100,000.
- Death due to a service-related injury. There is a $2,000 burial allowance for these veterans that may be used to cover some of the funeral director’s expenses, the casket, and transportation to the cemetery. If the veteran is buried in a VA cemetery, some or all of the costs to transport the body may be paid. This is decided on a case-by-case basis.
- If burial is not in a national cemetery, there is a $300 interment allowance, but it is unlikely that will cover opening and closing or vault charges, let alone the cost of the lot. Although a marker is available at no charge, the private cemetery will probably have a setting fee.
- Non service-related death in a VA health care facility. The VA will pay $722 toward funeral or burial expenses. If burial occurs outside a VA cemetery the VA will pay an additional $722 for the plot or interment costs.
- Non service-related death that occurs outside a VA health care facility, and when the veteran is collecting a VA pension or disability compensation. The VA will pay $300 toward funeral or burial expenses. Although burial in a national cemetery is free to these veterans and spouses, all other mortuary expenses are the responsibility of the family. The $300 interment allowance applies when burial is in other than a national cemetery.
- Death of a veteran outside a VA facility, not receiving military pension or disability compensation. The $2,000 and $300 benefits do not apply, nor is there reimbursement for transportation to the cemetery. The lot in a national cemetery, any required vault, interment, a granite or marble marker, and flag are the only burial benefits. If interment is in other than a national cemetery, the family is responsible for the cost of the lot, opening and closing charges, the vault, and any fee charged for setting the government marker if that is selected. The family must also bear all other funeral costs.
For more information on Veteran Benefits, visit our dedicated Veteran’s section here on our website or visit the link below to the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs.