As an honorably discharged veteran, you should take the time to ensure that you are aware of each and every benefit that you’ve earned through your service to our country. Some veterans wrongly assume that when it comes to death benefits, only retired veterans with over twenty years of service are eligible for these benefits. Others assume that, as a veteran, the Veterans Administration will provide the complete funeral services and merchandise at no cost. So what are your specific benefits, and how do you make sure that you take advantage of them?
Benefits That ALL Honorably-Discharged Veterans Receive
- Free American flag to drape the casket or to be folded for display with an urn.
- Military honors to be rendered at the place of service or graveside. For non-retired vets, this will include personnel to play “Taps,” and fold and present the flag. For retirees, honors also include pallbearers at the cemetery (if desired), and a rifle team to fire three volleys.
- Free upright headstone or flat grave marker (bronze or granite), whichever is allowed by your cemetery. There may be a fee from the cemetery for installing the marker, but the marker itself is free.
- Free burial space in a federal or state veterans’ cemetery. These government-operated cemeteries are very well-maintained, yet they are spread around the state, so there might not be one in your town. Check with your funeral director for details of their locations in your area. This space is guaranteed, whether you choose burial or cremation.
- Free burial space for dependents. Not only does the government provide a free space for the veteran, but also for an eligible dependent. Some restrictions apply, but the V.A. will also provide a headstone or marker for the dependent.
- Free outer burial container. Each veteran, buried in a state or federal veterans’ cemetery, also is provided at no cost an outer burial container for the casket.
- Presidential Certificate. A certificate, suitable for framing, signed by the current president at the time of the death.
In addition to these benefits, under certain circumstances, the V.A. may reimburse the family for certain funeral expenses. Your funeral director can apply for these benefits for you. Active-duty military deaths result in the V.A. providing more services, and even a casket.
In all instances, you will still need the assistance of a licensed funeral home like ours to carry out all of the details. We are very experienced dealing with the V.A. and helping families with their benefits.
What You Should Do In Advance
- Secure a copy of the veteran’s DD-214, the official military discharge paperwork. This will allow our funeral home to secure all of the benefits to which you and your family are entitled.
- Call us today for a no-obligation appointment with one of our staff members. We can not only help you determine your specific benefits, but allow you to plan your services in whatever detail you desire, eliminating questions from your family members about your desires.
We hope that this information has been helpful to you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more detailed information. If you have any questions please call (803) 469-3400.
You can find more information and any forms you may need online at: http://www.va.gov/vaforms/