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Veteran's Benefits

When a veteran dies, the surviving spouse will receive a Veteran's Administration allowance as partial reimbursement for an eligible veteran's burial and funeral or cremation costs.

If the death was service-related on or after September 1, 2001, the VA will pay $2,000. If the veteran is buried in a VA National Cemetery, a portion or all of the cost of moving the deceased may be reimbursed.

For a non-service related death on or after December 1, 2001, the VA will pay up to $300 towards burial and funeral expenses. If the death occurred while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under contracted nursing home care, a portion of the cost to transport the deceased's remains may be reimbursed.

Headstones and Markers

A deceased veteran, discharged under any condition except dishonorable, is entitled to a standard Government headstone or marker. Upon request, at no cost to the surviving family member, the VA will furnish the headstone or marker for the gravesite.

Flat markers are available in granite, marble, and bronze. Upright headstones are available in granite and marble. The style must be consistent with existing monuments or markers at the burial site.

United States Flag

The VA will provide a United States flag, at no cost, to drape over the casket or urn of a deceased veteran. Only one flag is provided per veteran. Generally the flag is given to the next of kin; however, the VA will furnish the flag to a friend upon request.

VA Benefits for Surviving Spouse

One of the most difficult tasks for a survivor after the death of the veteran is the completion of numerous claims forms for VA survivor benefits. To help facilitate veteran's benefits you are eligible to receive is a list of documents you will need to bring with you to the VA office.

  • proof of veteran's military service (Form DD214)
  • service serial number or Social Security number
  • veteran's birth certificate (to determine parent's benefits)
  • veteran's death certificate
  • marriage license (if applicable) or divorce decree
  • children's birth certificates (if applicable)
  • Government life insurance policy

For further information regarding veteran's benefits such as who is eligible and what forms need to be completed, please call the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or visit their website at www.vba.va.gov.

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