Frequently Asked Questions



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Veterans Death Benefits

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Who is eligible to receive the burial flag?

All veterans, except those dishonorably discharged, are entitled to a burial flag.

I am a survivor of a deceased U.S. veteran. Where can I learn about death benefits for survivors?

Certain family members are also covered under veteran’s funeral benefits. This includes the existing spouse of a veteran and dependent minor children, or unmarried adult children. Parents may also be included under certain circumstances. Specific requirements must be met for spouses and dependents to qualify for veteran’s burial benefits. Read detailed information about benefits.

Does the government pay for embalming or cremation of a veteran or family member?

The Veterans Administration does not pay for specific funeral services, but it provides a burial allowance to the family of the deceased veteran. Read the VA burial benefits regulations or download a printable fact sheet.

How does a beneficiary file a death claim for Veterans’ Group Life (VGLI) Insurance?

To file a claim, download and complete form SGLV 8283, Claim for Death Benefits.
Fax it to 877-832-4943, or mail it to the following address with a copy of the death certificate:

Office of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (OSGLI)
PO Box 70173
Philadelphia, PA 19176-9912


What happens to the flag after the funeral service?

The flag is removed from the casket, folded properly, and given to the next of kin as a keepsake. If next of kin is not available, the flag may be given to a friend or donated upon request.

How can a burial flag be displayed?

A burial flag is displayed on the casket, but folded differently depending on whether the casket is open or closed. It should not be displayed outside, since the material is not suitable for outside weather conditions. The application for a flag includes instructions on how it should be displayed.

Can a burial flag be replaced?

No. By law the VA can only issue one flag for a veteran’s funeral. If the burial flag is lost, destroyed, or stolen, you may be able to obtain assistance through local veterans’ groups or other community organizations.

How can you apply for a burial flag?

You can apply for a burial flag by completing VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. The funeral provider can assist you with obtaining a flag as well. U.S. Post Offices are the primary issuing point for burial flags; call and confirm with the post office in advance. Not all local post offices have burial flags on hand, but they should be able to direct you to the closest issuing post office. Regional VA offices can also help identify local issuing points.

Why does the VA provide a burial flag?

A U.S. flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the U. S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a veteran’s service to his or her country.

Who is eligible to receive veterans burial benefits?

For the purpose of receiving funeral benefits or compensation for expenses associated with final arrangements, a “veteran” is defined as one of the following:

• Someone who is currently serving, or has served, as a member of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard)
• Members of Reserve Components and Reserve Officers Training Corps
• Commissioned Officers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
• A Commissioned Officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service
• World War II Merchant Mariners
• The Philippine Armed Forces

Certain family members are also covered under veterans funeral benefits. This includes the existing spouse of a veteran and dependent minor children, or unmarried adult children. Parents may also be included under certain circumstances. Specific requirements must be met for spouses and dependents to qualify for veteran’s burial benefits. Read complete details about eligibility for burial benefits.

Can I schedule or reserve a burial in a national cemetery? How do I do this?

Grave sites in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries cannot be reserved in advance, but you can schedule a burial. Let your family know your wishes, and where your discharge papers are. You must send the VA National Cemetery Administration an application, and it will make pre-need burial eligibility determination.

There are two main steps to scheduling a burial.

  1. Submit documentation of eligibility to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office. You can do this by either faxing the appropriate documentation to 1-866-900-6417, or you can scan and email the documentation to Acceptable forms of discharge documents may be found here.
  2. Call the Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117 with the following required information:
    • Cemetery of choice.
    • First or subsequent burial (veteran or dependent already buried).
    • If subsequent interment, who is already interred, section and site number (if known).
    • Decedent’s full name, gender, Social Security number, date of death, date of birth and relationship (veteran or dependent).
    • Contact information (funeral director’s name as well as the name, address, and e-mail address of the funeral home).
    • Next of kin information (name, relationship to deceased, Social Security number, phone number, address).
    • Type of religious emblem for headstone (if known).
    • Did the decedent reside within 75 miles of requested cemetery?
    • ZIP code of decedent at time of death.
    • County of decedent at time of death.
    • Type of burial (casket or cremation).
    • Marital status of deceased (if veteran is buried in a private cemetery, must provide documentation of marital status of spouse at time of death).
    • Casket size/liner size/urn size/urn vault size.
    • Is surviving spouse a Veteran?
    • Any disabled children for future interment (must provide name and date of birth). If requesting immediate interment (must provide marital status, doctor’s statement stating type of illness, date of onset of illness and capability of self-support).
    • Military honors requested.

What are the eligibility requirements for the VA Hospice or Palliative Care Program?

All veterans who are enrolled in the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package are eligible for hospice care, provided they meet the clinical requirements for the service: they have a terminal condition, with less than 6 months to live, and are no longer seeking treatment other than palliative care. Hospice care can be provided at home, in an outpatient clinic or inpatient setting. There are no co-pays for hospice care. Co-pays may be charged for palliative care.

How can I pay for long-term care if I am a veteran?

You may be able to pay for your long-term care through VA, Federal, and State programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. You may also be able to pay using private insurance, or your own personal funds. Read more about paying for long-term care.

Where can I learn more about long-term care options for veterans?

Consult this guide provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to learn about long-term care options, including home and community-based services, nursing homes, residential settings, and other services and resources.

What is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of  U.S. Armed Forces members who died in the line of duty, or to eligible survivors of veterans who died from a service-related injury or disease. Read more on eligibility requirements and how to apply for compensation.

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