VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran's burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is non-service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: (1) a burial and funeral expense allowance, and (2) a plot or interment allowance.
A veteran may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:
the veteran paid for a veteran's burial or funeral; and
the veteran has not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased veteran's employer; and
the veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
the veteran died because of a service-related disability; or
the veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death; or
the veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay; or
the veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility; or
the veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care; or
the veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date or death; or
the veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
Service-Related Death: The VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001. If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased maybe reimbursed.
Non-Service-Related Death: The VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance for deaths on or after December 1, 2001. As of October 2011, the burial and funeral expenses and the plot allowance increase to $722. If the death happened while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the veteran's remains may be reimbursed. No plot allowance is paid to the family when the burial occurs in a national or state veteran's cemetery.
To obtain information regarding associated funeral expenses are incurred by the veteran and/or family, contact the local County Veterans Service Office.
To apply for burial benefits, complete VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits. Attach a copy of the veteran's military discharge document (DD Form 214 or equivalent), death certificate, and funeral and burial bills. The bills should indicate they have paid them in full. Please download the form or one can be obtained from the local County Veterans Service Office.