Burial

To be eligible for VA burial benefits, the veteran must have been discharged or released from military service under conditions other than dishonorable. Additionally, the burial and plot allowance entitlements differ according to whether the veteran’s death was service connected or non-service connected. The monetary burial benefits that are payable upon the death of an eligible veteran can be provided for any orall three of the following:

1. Burial allowance: A reimbursement for expenses incurred in the burial of an eligible veteran. The amount of payment is as follows:

*If the death is service connected, the maximum payment is $2,000.

*If the death is non-service connected, the maximum payment is $300.

*If death is non-service connected and occurs while hospitalized by the VA, the maximum payment is $700.

If the veterans’ death was not service connected, ONE of the following eligibility requirements must be met. The veteran must have:

*Been in receipt of VA disability pension or compensation at the time of death.

*Been in receipt of military retirement pay in lieu of VA compensation.

*Had a claim pending with the VA for disability benefits and was subsequently determined to be eligible from a date prior to the date of his or her death.

*Died while hospitalized by the VA or while on approved travel for VA medical care.

*Been indigent. (An indigent veteran must have been a veteran of a war, or discharged from active duty for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty).

2. Plot/interment allowance:A reimbursement of plot or interment expenses to a maximum of $700. The plot allowance is NOT payable when burial is in a national cemetery. To qualify for the plot allowance the veteran must have:

*Met any of the above basic eligibility requirements for the burial allowance, OR

*Been discharged from active duty for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

3. Transportation costs:The actual amount of payment is based on a “reasonable charge” for transportation service from the place of death to place of burial. The VA may pay a transportation allowance if ONE of the following requirements is met:

*The veteran died while under VA medical care or on authorized travel for such care, OR

*The deceased veteran is to be buried in a national cemetery and he or she died of a service connected condition or, at the time of death, had a compensable service connected disability.

National Cemeteries

Veterans who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and, members of the Armed Forces who die while on active duty, are eligible for burial in a National Cemetery. Those who first entered active duty after September 7, 1980 must meet the minimum active duty requirement which states that the veteran must have completed at least:

*24 months of active duty,OR

*The full period for which “called” or ordered to active duty.

National Guard or Reserve members may be eligible if they meet ONE of the following criteria:

1. Was eligible for military retirement pay based on service in the Selected Reserve.

2. Was disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active or inactive duty for training.

3. Died while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at VA expense for an injury or disease contracted or incurred while performing active duty for training, or inactive duty for training, or while hospitalized by the government for that treatment.

A veteran’s spouse and certain dependent children may also be eligible for burial in a national cemetery.

Headstones and Markers

Both veterans and deceased members of the Armed Forces are entitled to a Government headstone or marker regardless of the place of burial. The basic requirements are:

*The veteran’s service could have been either during peacetime or wartime.

*The veteran’s discharge must have been under conditions other than dishonorable.

*If the deceased was serving in the US Armed Forces at the time of death, his or her service must have been under honorable conditions.

*If the veteran’s active duty began after September 7, 1980, the minimum active duty service requirement must be met.

National Guard or Reserve members must meet ONE of the following criteria:

1. Was eligible for military retirement pay based on service in the Selected Reserve.

2. Was disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active or inactive duty for training.

3. Died while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at VA expense for an injury or disease contracted or incurred while performing active duty for training, or inactive duty for training, or while hospitalized by the government for that treatment.

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