Frequently Asked Questions

Veterans Death Benefits

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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 US 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. Visit http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/burial_benefits/eligible.asp for detailed information.

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

The family of the deceased should make funeral or cremation arrangements with a funeral provider or cremation provider. Any item or service obtained from a funeral home or cremation provider will be at the family’s expense. The VA generally doesn’t pay for cremation, embalming, casket or urn, or transportation to the cemetery, except under special circumstances.

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

You will need to complete the form SGLV 8283, Claim for Death Benefits http://www.benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/forms/SGLV_8600_ed2014-06.pdf and fax it to 1-877-832-4943. You can also mail it to the following address with a copy of the death certificate:

Office of Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI)
80 Livingston Avenue
Roseland, New Jersey 07068-1733

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.

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 http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-27-2008-ARE.pdf . The funeral director can assist you with obtaining a flag as well. The flags are issued from the US Post Office. If your local post office does not have burial flags available, they can assist you in finding the closest issuing post office.

Why does the VA provide a burial flag?

The burial flag is furnished by the VA to honor the memory of the veteran’s service to his country.

Who is eligible to receive veteran’s 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 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. Visit http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/burial_benefits/eligible.asp for detailed information.

Can I schedule or reserve a burial in a National Cemetery? How do I do this?

Yes. There are two main steps in the process. The following information is provided by the National Cemetery Administration web site. For detailed information, visit http://www.cem.va.gov/burial_benefits/need.asp.

First, you must 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 NCA.Scheduling@va.gov. Acceptable forms of discharge documents may be found at http://www.cem.va.gov/CEM/hmm/discharge_documents.asp.

Second, you must call the Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117 with the following information, as required by the Scheduling Office:
• 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, SSN, date of death, date of birth and relationship (Veteran or dependent)
• Contact Info (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, SSN, 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, provided they meet the clinical requirements for the service. 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.

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

Consult the guide provided by The US Department of Veterans Affairs at http://www.va.gov/geriatrics/guide/longtermcare/ to learn about long-term care options including home and community-based services, nursing homes, residential settings, and other services and resources.

What is Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?

Dependents Indemnity Compensation is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of members of the Armed Forces who died while in the line of duty, or to eligible survivors of veterans who died from a service-related injury or disease. For more information on eligibility requirements, visit http://benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/types-dependency_and_indemnity.asp.

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