Every year in the United States of America, thousands of brave people bravely enlist in the military to defend the state of national affairs. Although widely considered a noble duty, becoming a soldier often involves the heavy sacrifice of deployment and war. Sadly, while there are the fortunate ones who return home safely, there are great numbers of soldiers who do not.
For the family members of these individuals, amidst this devastating time in their lives, there is assistance they can tap into via the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. There are a myriad of benefits and support available make the final disposition of their fallen one, an honorable beautiful experience.
There are two different classifications identified by the VA which should be considered when seeking funeral arrangements; veterans who lose their lives as a result of their service and veterans who pass on as a result of something not related to their service.
Death From Service
When an individual’s death is the result of their military service, the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide the family with $2000 to be used towards burial expenses. However, this only applies for those who have died after September 11, 2001. For those who have passed away prior to 9/11/01 are able to claim $1500 for service-related death and burial expenses.
The VA also offers an allowance for the transport of deceased veterans from place of death to funeral home, cemetery, church, etc. The website notes that individuals who are buried in a national cemetery can receive funds for the cost to transport the deceased a body to those locations. However, all of this assistance is done in the form of reimbursement, meaning the family must first pay for services, then submit receipts to receive payment for costs.
Death Outside of Service
For those who have passed away outside of service-related duties, they are still eligible for funding. However, there are more particulars about the date of death and the benefits available.
Starting The Process
Ultimately, the vital part of the process to put a loved servicemember to rest is to do research. To check with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs when it comes to seeking reimbursement or burial/cremation benefits.
Families must fill out an application, and they can find additional information at the Veterans Affairs website. One must be sure to have all documentation necessary to comply with eligibility requirements.
An important point to note: support can only be given as reimbursement, not in advance. Receipts must be saved, and documentation of death and burial or funeral will be required.
It’s not always easy to say farewell to loved ones, whether they passed away at home or away on deployment. Knowing the benefits and assistance they were eligible for and taking the steps to lay loved ones to rest honorably and completely, is a step in the right direction toward healing.
*Those who have been dishonorably discharged are not eligible for any form of financial support.