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Does VA Pay For Coffin?

Does VA Pay For Coffin?

No one wants to think about death, but inevitably it’s something that we all have to face at some point in our lives. When that time comes, you may be wondering if the VA will pay for your coffin. Here’s what you need to know.

VA pays for a coffin in certain circumstances. If you are a veteran who dies while hospitalized by the VA, the VA will pay for a coffin or urn. If a veteran has no next of kin and is indigent, the VA will provide either a casket or cremation urn for burial in a national, state, or veterans cemetery.

We’ll take a closer look at what VA does and doesn’t cover when it comes to funeral costs. We’ll also discuss some of your options if you need assistance with funeral expenses. So, read on for more information about VA and coffin coverage!

What Does VA Cover for Burial?

With the existing regulations in place, VA reimburses funeral and burial expenses to survivors. They must submit receipts for payments that VA covers under law up to a specific amount. For example, VA will reimburse $2,000 for a Veteran’s funeral and burial expenses if the death occurred on or after September 11, 2001. If the death occurred before September 11, 2001, VA will reimburse up to $1,500 for funeral and burial expenses. VA also provides a $749 plot-interment allowance for Veterans who are buried in a VA national cemetery. This is a one-time payment. 

If the Veteran died while hospitalized by VA or under VA-contracted care, VA will reimburse transportation costs to transport the Veteran’s remains. The reimbursement is limited to transportation within the continental United States. If VA hospitalized the deceased at the time of death, VA will pay up to $796 toward burial and funeral expenses for deaths occurring on or after October 1, 2019. Otherwise, only $300 will be paid out for burial and funeral expenses. There is also a $796 plot-interment allowance (if not buried in a national cemetery). If you die on or after December 1, 2001, but before October 1, 2011, the Veterans Administration will pay $300 toward your burial and funeral expenses. 

In addition, they will give a $300 allowance for the plot of land where you are buried. If a Veteran dies on or after April 1, 1988, but before October 1, 2011, and was hospitalized by VA, VA will pay $300 toward burial and funeral costs.

Does the VA Pay for Burial or Cremation?

The VA helps eligible veterans with the expense of either a funeral or cremation by providing burial benefits. The VA doesn’t provide the money to any provider as an upfront payment; rather, they reimburse you after you’ve already made the purchase. So first, families must pay for the cost of cremation or burial. They can then submit a request along with receipts.

While a funeral with burial typically costs over $11,000 on average, the benefit between $300 and $2,000 may not seem very comprehensive. Aside from being reimbursed for cremation and burial expenses, eligible veterans also enjoy other benefits. These can include a VA burial allowance for funeral and burial expenses, a VA plot or interment allowance to help with the cost of the gravesite or interment, and, lastly, reimbursement from transportation costs associated with transporting remains to the final resting place.

Does the Military Pay for Funerals for Veterans?

Most veterans are eligible to receive a military funeral at no cost to them as well as free memorial items, which usually include: headstones, markers, medallions, a burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate.

Any active duty Soldier who dies while on active duty is eligible for burial in a Veterans Affairs Cemetery. The Soldier’s Surviving Spouse, Dependent Children (under certain conditions), unmarried adult Children, and biological or adoptive parents of a Service member may be eligible for burial. Headstones, markers, or medallions may be provided for the unmarked grave of any eligible person.

Those who served in the armed forces and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions are also eligible for many VA benefits, including free health care, prescription drugs, VA disability compensation and pension benefits, VA education and training programs, VA home loans, burial and memorial benefits, and more. You can find out which VA benefits you’re eligible for by visiting the Veterans Benefits Administration website.

Does VA pay for Headstones?

On request, the Department of Veterans Affairs will place a Government headstone or marker on the grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery worldwide. The VA will even pay for the headstone or marker to be installed. In addition, the VA will provide a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the applicant, to honor the memory of deceased Veterans who have been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces. 

Fill out the Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker form to request a headstone, burial monument, or niche marker from the government (VA Form 40-1330). You can also apply online. If you have any questions regarding VA headstones, grave markers, or niche markers, please contact the VA National Cemetery Administration at 877-827-3702.

How Much Does it Cost to be Buried in a Veterans Cemetery?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs graciously provides honorably discharged veterans, as well as their spouses and dependents, with a burial plot in a National Cemetery at no extra charge. Cremated remains are also accepted. In addition, if an eligible spouse or dependent predeceases the veteran, they may also be buried. The VA also provides a headstone or marker at no cost, as well as perpetual care of the grave site.

The VA also provides pre-need determinations for burial in a National Cemetery. Individuals can request and learn their eligibility for burial or memorialization in a VA national cemetery through the Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility Program. This can be done through the VA’s National Cemetery Scheduling Office by calling 800-535-1117.

For veterans buried in a state or private cemetery, the VA offers a headstone or marker and a grave liner at no cost.

How Do You Get Buried in the VA Cemetery?

For burial in a national cemetery, fax discharge papers to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 866-900-6417. To make your request, you can either scan and email the papers to NCA.Scheduling@va.gov or mail them in. In the subject line or on the physical envelope, provide the name of the individual you are asking for burial benefits. 

You must also include the following information: 

  • The veteran’s complete name
  • Service number
  • Rank
  • Branch of service
  • Date of birth and death
  • Place of birth and death
  • Last address
  • Next-of-kin relationship
  • Name, address, and phone number of next of kin or designee

For more information on VA burial benefits, visit the VA website or call 800-827-1000.

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