Know the options: Burial and memorial benefits for veterans| News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | January 14, 2017 2:14 pm
Last Updated: January 11, 2017 at 2:24 pm
By JANET SMITH
Did you know that the Department of Veterans Affairs pays a one-time burial and plot allowance for partial reimbursement of an eligible veteran’s funeral expenses? The VA pays up to $2,000 for service-connected deaths. The maximum payment for non-service related deaths can vary depending on if the veteran was hospitalized by the VA at the time of death and/or buried in a VA National Cemetery.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
The veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met: The veteran died as a result of a service-connected 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 to receive his or her full 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 for VA compensation or pension pending at the time of death and would have been entitled to benefits from a date prior to the date of death,
OR the veteran died on, or after, October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
WHO CAN FILE A CLAIM?
Eligible surviving spouses of record are paid automatically upon notification of a veteran’s death, without the need to submit a claim. The survivor of a legal union, children, parents, and executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased veteran may file. There is no time limit to file claims for veterans who die of service related conditions; however, for non-service related deaths, claims must be filed within two years after burial or cremation. Please provide a copy of the veteran’s DD Form 214, death certificate and an itemized copy of the funeral expenses from the funeral home with proof of payment.
The local funeral homes assist survivors with arranging for military funeral honors through the Department of Defense, the VA National Cemetery Administration and our very own Colleton County Honor Guard. Burial in a VA National Cemetery is available for eligible veterans, spouses and dependents (up to age 23 and a full time student).
The funeral director may also help with obtaining other related VA death benefits to include obtaining a government-issued headstone or marker or medallion and a Presidential Memorial Certificate at no charge.
Active duty service other than active duty for training is required for most burial and memorial benefits. It is important to have copy of the veteran’s proof of military service available to present at the time of death to determine the eligibility status.
You may contact the Colleton County Veterans Affairs Office for questions regarding all VA benefits. We are located at 219 S. Lemacks Street, Walterboro. For an appointment, please call 843 549-1412.
(Janet D. Smith is director of the Colleton County Veterans Affairs Office She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-549-1412.)