AMVETS NJ Department Headquarters

VA Benefits

VA Benefits for Reimbursement of Cremation Expenses

A. $300 is available for honorably discharged veterans if one of the following conditions are met:

B. $2,000 is available if one of the following conditions are met:

C. $300 Burial Plot Allowance is available when an honorably discharged veteran is not interred in a cemetery that is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government if one of the following conditions are met:

D. Transportation Allowance for deceased veterans will be reimbursed by the VA for:

Interment In a National Cemetery
Many families of deceased veterans take advantage of interment benefits available through the Veterans Administration National Cemetery System. FREE gravespace for interment of cremated remains is available in any one of a number of VA National cemeteries located throughout the country.

Eligibility Requirements
All honorably discharged veterans, their spouses and minor children who have been cremated are eligible for interment in a national cemetery. In addition, certain members of the Reserve Component of the Armed Forces, World War II Merchant Marines and Commissioned Officers of NOAA and the Public Health Service may also eligible. For a complete listing of eligibility requirements contact your local veterans affairs office or visit the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery System Web Site.

Interment Options
There is no charge for interment of cremated remains in a National Cemetery. Cremated remains may be interred in either an in-ground grave, a garden niche, or placed in a columbarium depending upon the family's preference. Please note that not all National cemeteries provide for each of these three interment options. A complete listing of VA National Cemeteries and telephone numbers can be found at http://www.va.gov/cemetery/address.htm.

Scheduling an Interment
Funeral Director will arrange for an interment in a National Cemetery as part of their service. Normally, all that is required to make these arrangements is a copy of the official military discharge document or a Form DD 214. The funeral director will forward the required documentation to the cemetery director and a tentative date for interment will be set. Cremated remains may not be delivered to the cemetery until interment eligibility is verified and the arrangements are confirmed.

Please note that memorialization in a National Cemetery is available only on an at-need basis at the time of death. Eligible veterans may not reserve burial or niche space in a National Cemetery on a pre-need basis. 

Military Honors
Section 578 on the National Defense Act provides free military honors for eligible veterans whose families request them. The law includes a basic military funeral honor ceremony consisting of the folding and presentation of the American flag and the playing of Taps. The military detail performing this ceremony will consist of two or more uniformed members of the military, with at least one member representing the branch in which the veteran served. Each military branch may also include additional elements of the ceremony such as a rifle volley. In most cases, the funeral director that you select will handle the details of scheduling the military ceremony if they assisted the family is setting up and coordinating the memorial service. For more information about military honors, you may visit the Department of Defense web site at www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil.

Headstones, Markers and Monuments
If burial of the cremated remains takes place in a National Cemetery, the VA will provide a free granite or marble headstone or a granite, marble, or bronze marker. If burial takes place in a private cemetery, the VA will provide a free headstone consistent with the cemetery requirements. For veterans who's cremated remains have been scattered, a memorial monument is available. Most cremation societies will take care of arranging for installation of a headstone, marker or memorial monument at no charge.

Social Security Benefits
Some of the deceased's family members may be able to receive Social Security benefits if the deceased person worked long enough under Social Security to quality for benefits. Funeral Parlor contacts Social Security as soon as possible to make sure the family receives all of the benefits to which it may be entitled. Please read the following information carefully to learn what benefits may be available.

A one-time payment of $255.00 may / can be paid to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased's record. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased's record in the month of death. This money cannot be applied to the funeral home expense of the deceased, as it can come several weeks/months after death.

Certain family members may be eligible to receive monthly benefits, including:

• A widow or widower age 60 or older (age 50 or older if disabled);
• A surviving spouse at any age who is caring for the deceased's child under age 16 or disabled;
• An unmarried child of the deceased who is younger than age 18 (or age 18 or 19 if he or she is a full-time student in an elementary or secondary school); or age 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22;
• Parents, age 62 or older, who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support; and
• A surviving divorced spouse, under certain circumstances.

The Social Security Administration website is a valuable resource for information about all of The Social Security Administration’s programs. In addition to using the Social Security Administration website, you can call them toll-free at 1.800.772.1213. Staff can answer the most specific questions from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. They can also provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call the TTY number at 1.800.325.0778.

Who is eligible for Military Funeral Honors?
• Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.
• Former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable (who received a documented Honorable Discharge or a documented Disabled Release from the United States Armed Forces).
• Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable (who received a documented Honorable Discharge or a documented Disabled Release from the United States Armed Forces).
• Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

Who is not eligible for Military Funeral Honors?

• Any person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions (Dishonorable Discharge) or whose character of service results in a bar to veteran's benefits.
• Any person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service.
• Any person discharged from the Selected Reserve prior to completing one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service for reasons other than a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
• Any person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

How do the Surviving Family Members establish the Veteran’s eligibility?

The preferred method is by locating / providing the DD 214 Form (also known as the DD Form 214), Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. If the DD 214 Form is not available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service may/can be used. The DD 214 Form may be obtained by filling out a Standard Form 180 and sending it to:

National Personnel Records Center(NPRC)
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132

The Standard Form 180 may be obtained from the National Records Center or via the following web site: http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf

Is anyone else eligible to receive funeral honors?

Yes. Members of the Commissioned Officer Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as members of a Uniformed Service, are also eligible to receive funeral honors.

• For PHS personnel, funeral honors eligibility is established using PHS Form 1867, Statement of Service (equivalent to the DD Form 214). If the family does not have a copy of the Statement of Service, it may be obtained by contacting the Privacy Coordinator for the Commissioned Corps at (240) 453-6041 or by writing to:

Division of Commissioned Personnel/HRS/PSC
Attention: Privacy Act Coordinator
5600 Fishers Lane
4-36
Rockville, Maryland 20857

• For NOAA personnel, eligibility is established using NOAA Form 56-16, Report of Transfer or Discharge. If the family does not have a copy of the NOAA Form 56-16, it may be obtained by contacting the Chief, Officer Services Division, NOAA Commissioned Personnel Center at (301) 713-7715. or by writing to:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Commissioned Personnel Center
Chief, Officer Services Division (CPC1)
1315 East-West Highway, Room 12100
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Veteran Burial Flag
United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket, accompany the casket, or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the U. S. Armed Forces. The Funeral Home / Funeral Director will be able to best provide direction when it comes to making that decision, based on the conditions present on the day of the funeral. It is furnished to honor the memory of a veteran's military service to his or her country. VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization for:

• A veteran who served during wartime
• A veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
• A veteran who served after January 31, 1955
• A peacetime veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950
• Certain persons who served in the organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while in service of the U.S. Armed Forces and who died on or after April 25, 1951
• Certain former members of the Selected Reserves

Who Is Eligible to Receive the Burial Flag?

Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it. For those VA national cemeteries with an Avenue of Flags, families of Veterans buried in these national cemeteries may donate the burial flags of their loved ones to be flown on patriotic holidays.

How Can You Apply?

You may apply for the flag by completing VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. You may get a flag at any VA regional office or U.S. Post Office. Generally, the funeral director obtain the flag.

Can a Burial Flag Be Replaced?

The law allows us to issue one flag for a veteran's funeral. We cannot replace it if it is lost, destroyed, or stolen. Ho

How Should the Burial Flag Be Displayed?

The proper way to display the flag depends upon whether the casket is open or closed. Again, The Funeral Home / Funeral Director will be able to best provide direction when it comes to making that decision, based on the conditions present on the day of the funeral. VA Form 27-2008 provides the correct method for displaying and folding the flag. The burial flag is not suitable for outside display (flying / hoisting) because of its size and fabric. It is made of cotton and can easily be damaged by weather.

For More Information Call Toll-Free at 1-800-827-1000


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