Information for Veterans
There are several ways that veterans can have a funeral that honors their sacrifice to our country. We are here to help honor the life of a veteran. The most important information for a family to have available is the Veteran's Discharge Paper (Form DD-214). With this form we are able to get military funeral honors, a flag for presentation to the next-of-kin, burial in a national cemetery, or a V.A. headstone or medallion. Many families are overwhelmed during the grieving process, so it is important to plan ahead and know what to expect during the difficult time of loss. Here is some information that might help you understand what is available for United States Veterans.
- Who is eligible?
According to VA.gov -"Veterans discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable; Service members who die while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training; and spouses and dependent children of Veterans and active duty service members, may be eligible for VA burial and memorial benefits. (For the purposes of this chapter, the term “Veteran” includes eligible persons who die during active duty service.) The Veteran does not have to die before a spouse or dependent child can be eligible for burial or memorial benefits." It is important to talk with your funeral director to make sure that you or your loved one is eligible for benefits.
- Who can be buried in a VA National Cemetery?
According to VA.gov "Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible Veterans, spouses and dependents at no cost and includes the gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine. For Veterans, benefits may also include a burial flag and military funeral honors. VA operates 131 national cemeteries, of which 72 are currently open for both new casket and cremation interments and 18 may accept new interment of cremated remains only. Burial options are limited to those available at a specific cemetery and may include in ground casket, or interment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in-ground, or in a scattering area. Contact the national cemetery directly, or visit our website at www.cem.va.gov to determine if a particular cemetery is open for new burials, and what other options are available."
- What is the closest VA Cemetery?
A National V.A. Cemetery is run by the Federal government while a State V.A. Cemetery is run by the states. The State of Missouri has a VA Cemetery in Bloomfield, Missouri, that is relatively close to Piggott, Arkansas. For more information on burial at Bloomfield click this link: http://mvc.dps.mo.gov/cemeteries/bloomfield.php
- Who receives burial benefits and what do they pay?
According to VA.gov "VA will pay a burial and funeral allowance of up to $2,000 for Veterans who die from service-connected injuries. VA will pay a burial and funeral allowance of up to $300 for Veterans who, at the time of death from nonservice-connected injuries were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled if they were not receiving military retirement pay. VA will pay a burial and funeral allowance of up to $734 when the Veteran’s death occurs in a VA facility, a VA-contracted nursing home or a state Veterans nursing home. In cases in which the Veteran’s death was not service connected, claims must be filed within two years after burial or cremation. VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the Veteran’s death is service-connected. In such cases, the person who bore the Veteran’s burial expenses may claim reimbursement from VA. In some cases, VA will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a Veteran whose death was service-connected to the nearest national cemetery with available gravesites. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims in service-connected death cases. VA will pay a plot allowance of up to $734 when a Veteran is buried in a cemetery not under U.S. government jurisdiction if: the Veteran was discharged from active duty because of disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; the Veteran was receiving compensation or pension or would have been if the Veteran was not receiving military retired pay; or the Veteran died in a VA facility. The plot allowance may be paid to the state for the cost of a plot or interment in a state-owned cemetery reserved solely for Veteran burials if the Veteran is buried without charge. Burial expenses paid by the deceased’s employer or a state agency will not be reimbursed."
- VA Headstones
Your funeral director will help you obtain and fill out the forms necessary to obtain a VA headstone for an eligible loved one. The next-of-kin will have to pick out the desired headstone and sign VA Form 40-1330. The following from VA.gov states what is inscribed on the markers:
"Headstones and markers must be inscribed with the name of the deceased, branch of service, and year of birth and death. They also may be inscribed with other optional information, including an emblem of belief and, space permitting, additional text including military rank; war service such as “World War II;” complete dates of birth and death; military awards; military organizations; civilian or Veteran affiliations; and personalized words of endearment."
- Military Funeral Honors
Your funeral director can help obtain a funeral honors team for your veteran. However, due to government limitations - the branch of service will usually only sent a two-man team (if available). Retired Veterans and Active Veterans are eligible for a rifle team, chaplain, taps, and folding of the flag, but the service will only send them if they have the availability of officers. Unfortunately the VFW locally does not provide these services either, so it is usually difficult to get more than the two-man honor team in our area. (The State of Missouri does provide the VFW rifle squad for funeral conducted in Missouri.) here is infomormation from VA.gov about funeral honors :
"Upon request, DoD will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and the presentation of the United States flag and the playing of “Taps.” A funeral honors detail consists of two or more uniformed members of the armed forces, with at least one member from the deceased’s branch of service."If you have any further questions, you can contact your local VA service officer or go to www.