As we celebrate Veteran’s day and pay homage to all those in our country who have sacrificed to protect and serve us, let’s refresh our understanding of Veterans’ benefits. This post will cover some of the most commonly asked questions about benefits for Veterans, but if your questions are not addressed or if you need to contact someone directly, you can do so through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs at va.gov.
Who qualifies for Veteran benefits?
The VA determines each person’s eligibility based on a number of factors, including your service history, medical needs, disability rating, and current income. Essentially, the VA wants to qualify you with the benefits that best match your present needs—having too much or not enough coverage can cause stress and be financially untenable.
You can access Veteran benefits during your service, as you are separating from the military, or after you have retired. Many people mistakenly believe that VA insurance is only for disabled Veterans, which is simply not true. You may qualify for benefits such as life insurance, education funding, home loans, pensions, and health insurance.
What about VA death benefits?
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has a wide variety of resources and benefits available for Veterans and their families, including an array of death benefits that are designed to reduce the confusion and anxiety surrounding funeral planning and burial. In order to receive the burial allowance offered by the VA, the Veteran has to have been receiving a VA pension or compensation at the time of death or the Veteran chose to get military retired pay instead of compensation. A Veteran’s surviving spouse, partner, child, or parent may access these benefits after the death of their loved one as long as they file a claim within 2 years after the Veteran’s burial or cremation.
What kind of burial benefits can I get?
The VA offers burial benefits in 151 national cemeteries including a gravesite, headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial certificate. If a family is also eligible for a burial allowance, that money can be used for burial and funeral costs, transportation of remains, and interment costs.
If a Veteran’s death is directly connected to their military service (they died during active duty or as a result of a service-related disability), they are eligible for a maximum burial benefit of up to $2000, which will be paid as a reimbursement after the burial and services take place unless the Veteran is buried in a national cemetery. If a Veteran’s death is not connected to their military service, the burial benefits include a $300 reimbursement for burial/funeral costs and $807 for a plot. However, if that non-service-related death took place during hospitalization at a VA facility, the burial allowance goes up to $807 and transportation costs may be covered. A headstone allowance may also be available.
How do I plan a military funeral?
Working closely with your funeral director or pre-planning advisor is the best way to guarantee that the funeral you plan includes the appropriate tributary elements.