One of the greatest sacrifices any American can make is to serve within the Armed Forces. To honor this sacrifice, the government extends funeral benefits to these individuals. If you're planning a funeral ceremony for a veteran, it's helpful to first understand what these benefits include so that you can choose an appropriate funeral package.
The Veterans Administration (VA) provides monetary burial assistance for veterans who have passed due to both service-related and non-service-related circumstances. Under the current guidelines, the VA pays a flat rate to assist with the cost of burial, plot and interment costs. For a service-related death, the government will pay a maximum of $2,000. This is in addition to any transportation fees incurred should the body be transported to a national cemetery.
For a non-service-related death, if the veteran was in a VA hospital at the time of death, the government will pay a maximum of $747 towards funeral and burial costs. If the veteran was not hospitalized in a VA facility, the benefit is $300 for funeral and burial costs and a maximum of $747 for plot costs, if not being buried at a national cemetery.
National Cemetery Burial
Veterans are also extended the privilege of being buried at any national cemetery, even if it is outside their home state. In addition to the honor of knowing your loved one is among others who have made similar sacrifices, there is also no cost for the family.
Opening and closing of the grave-site, a government headstone, perpetual care, a presidential memorial certificate and a burial flag are all covered under this benefit. As previously stated, if your loved one had a desire to be buried in a national cemetery outside their local area, a portion of the transportation costs will also be covered.
A Final Salute
Your loved one's commitment can also be recognized in the form of a final salute. This benefit is extended through the Department of Defense and would require that you contact a local branch for assistance in activating this benefit. A final salute includes the presence of an honor guard at the funeral services.
The honor guard will perform a short ceremony that includes the playing of Taps and the presentation of an American flag to the family. This benefit is extended even if your loved one will be buried in a private cemetery.
A funeral home representative can also be of assistance in this area. In addition to being well versed on the packages offered by the home, these professionals generally also have experience with veterans funeral packages. They can use this expertise to assist you with choosing the right package for your loved one.