Veterans: What are VA burial allowances?

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VA burial allowances are flat rate monetary benefits that are generally paid at the maximum amount authorized by law for an eligible veteran's burial and funeral costs. A VA regulation change in 2014 simplified the program to pay eligible survivors quickly and efficiently. Eligible surviving spouses of record are paid automatically upon notification of the veteran's death, without the need to submit a claim. VA may grant additional benefits, including the plot or interment allowance and transportation allowance, if it receives a claim for these benefits.

Who is eligible?

If the burial benefit has not been automatically paid to the surviving spouse, VA will pay the first living person to file a claim of those listed below:

• Veteran's surviving spouse; OR

• The survivor of a legal union* between the deceased veteran and the survivor; OR

• The veteran's children, regardless of age; OR

• The veteran's parents or surviving parent; OR

• The executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased veteran.

*Legal union means a formal relationship between the decedent and the survivor that existed on the date of the veteran's death, which was recognized under the law of the State in which the couple formalized the relationship and evidenced by the State's issuance of documentation memorializing the relationship.

The veteran must also have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:

• The veteran died as a result of a service-connected 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 instead to receive his or her full 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 for VA compensation or pension pending at the time of death and would have been entitled to benefits from a date prior to the date of death, OR

• The veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA—approved state nursing home.

Disabilities determined by VA to be related to your military service can lead to monthly non-taxable compensation, enrollment in the VA health care system, a 10-point hiring preference for federal employment and other important benefits. Ask your VA representative or Veterans Service Organization representative about Disability Compensation, Pension, Health Care, Caregiver Program, Career Services, Educational Assistance, Home Loan Guaranty, Insurance and/or Dependents and Survivors' Benefits.

How much does VA pay?

Service-Connected Death:

• If the veteran died on or after Sept. 11, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial

allowance is $2,000.

• If the veteran died before Sept. 11, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $1,500.

• If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA may reimburse some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased Veteran's remains.

Non-service-Connected Death:

• If the veteran died on or after Oct. 1, 2017, VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $762 for a plot.

• If the veteran died on or after Oct. 1, 2016, but before October 1, 2017, VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $749 for a plot.

• If the veteran died on or after Oct. 1, 2015, but before October 1, 2016, VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $747 for a plot.

Effective Oct. 1, 2011, there are higher non-service-connected death rates payable if the veteran was hospitalized by VA when he or she died.

• If the veteran died on or after Oct. 1, 2017, VA will pay a $762 burial allowance and $762 for a plot.

• If the veteran died on or after Oct. 1, 2016, VA will pay a $749 burial allowance and $749 for a plot.

• If the veteran died on or after Oct. 1, 2015, but before Oct. 1, 2016, VA will pay a $747 burial allowance and $747 for a plot.

• If the death occurred while the veteran was properly hospitalized by VA, or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the veteran's remains may be reimbursed.

Note: If the veteran dies while traveling at VA expense for the purpose of examination, treatment or care,

VA will pay burial, funeral, plot or interment allowances, and transportation expenses.

Unclaimed remains

• If a veteran dies and their remains are unclaimed, the entity responsible for the burial of the Veteran would be entitled to a $300 burial allowance.

• If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA may reimburse the cost of transporting the deceased Veteran's remains. VA may also reimburse for the cost of a plot.

How can you apply?

You can apply by filling out VA Form 21P-530, Application for Burial Benefits. You should attach a copy of the veteran's military discharge document (DD 214 or equivalent) and a death certificate. If you are claiming transportation expenses, please attach a receipt for the expenses paid.

You can call us toll-free within the U.S. by dialing (800) 827-1000. If you are located in the local dialing area of a VA regional office, you can also call us by checking your local telephone directory. For the hearing impaired, our TDD number is 711.

Pension and Fiduciary?

You should mail your application to the VA regional office located in your state. You can obtain the mailing address for VA regional offices by accessing our locations site. The address is also located in the government pages of your telephone book under "United States Government, veterans."

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us and as always have a great week.