TEN FACTS AT A GLANCE
U.S. Depart of Affairs (VA) benefits do not cover all the funeral or cremation arrangements of honorably discharged veterans.
There are certain monetary, recognition and service benefits that may be available. However, reimbursement for funeral or
cremation service expenses is limited, and usually only applies to a veteran who:
- Retire from the Armed Services, or
- Were disabled due to a service-connected injury, or
- Died in a VA hospital or while in a nursing home under VA contract.
Standard guidelines are provided as an overview, but only the VA can rule on our exact benefits.
You will need documentation to verify military service.
A "Report of Separation from the Armed Forces of the United States," also known as "discharge papers" is normally required to verify military service. In most cases, this report is the DD214. If your family does not have the form DD214 at the time of death, call your local Veterans Service office for help in obtaining the document.
A veteran's family must request a United States flag.
A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an "Application for the United States Flag for Burial Purposes" must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran's discharge paper. Most North Dakota funeral homes are able to help you with this process or you can contact your local Veterans Service office in your county.
Military Funeral Honors ceremonies must be scheduled in advance.
The law requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, which includes the folding of the flag and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of "taps" upon the families request. The Department of Defense program calls for the funeral director to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veteran's family.
Veteran's caskets are not free.
As a standard policy, neither the VA nor the various branches of service provide a free casket for a deceased veteran, unless death occurs on active duty.
A Presidential Memorial Certificate must be requested.
Initiated in March 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, a "Presidential Memorial Certificate" is a gold embossed paper certificate inscribed with the veteran's name that bears the current President's signature, to honor the memory of honorably discharged, deceased veterans. A copy of the deceased veteran's military discharge document along with a copy of the death certificate must be provided when requesting this certificate.
Eligible recipients, or someone acting on their behalf, may request a copy in person at their county Veteran Service office.
If you choose not to be buried in a VA national cemetery, monetary burial benefits are limited.
Veterans buried in a private cemetery may be eligible to receive a partial reimbursement for their burial costs. For non-service related deaths, a burial expense allowance (up to $700) and a plot allowance (up to $700) may be given. Veterans buried in a state cemetery (ND Veterans Cemetery in Mandan, ND) are not eligible for plot allowance. In order to receive a VA burial allowance you must meet the following conditions:
- Payment for the veteran's burial was made without any reimbursement from a government agency or other source, and
- The veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
- The veteran died because of a service-related disability, or
- The veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation, or
- The veteran died in a VA hospital or nursing home under VA contract.
In order to determine the final reimbursement amount, an "Application for Burial Benefits" must be submitted within two year from the date of the veteran's permanent burial.
There are eligibility requirements for burial in a VA national cemetery.
Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies while on active duty or any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable is entitled to burial in a VA national cemetery. Under certain conditions, the unremarried surviving spouse and minor children of an eligible person are also entitled to this benefit.
- Burial in a VA national cemetery includes:
- An assigned gravesite (is space is available)
- Opening and closing of the grave
- A grave liner for casketed remains
- A government headstone or marker
- Perpetual care at no cost to the family
All of the above is included at the Veterans Cemetery in Mandan, ND except the grave liner for casketed remains.
Cremated remains are buried or inumed at VA national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
it is important to note that you may not reserve space in a VA National Cemetery ahead of time, since VA national cemeteries only allow arrangements to be made at the time of a death. Therefore, if you do not choose burial in a private cemetery, there is no guarantee that spouses or other family members will be buried side by side, or even nearby.
Additionally, you should note that burials in VA national cemeteries usually are not conducted on weekends and, depending on the VA cemetery, there may be a waiting period before burial can occur.
In addition, non-veteran parents may be interred in a national cemetery with their child if that child was killed in combat and has no other eligible survivors. In order for such burial to occur, an official must determine that there is available space.
Headstones or markers for a burial space in a private cemetery must be requested.
The VA, upon request and at no charge to the applicant, will furnish a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world. Flat markers are available in granite or bronze. The style must be consistent with existing monuments or markers at the place of burial. Niche markers for cremated remains are also available.
An "Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker" must be submitted. Check with your local funeral home or visit the nearest Veterans Service office.
It is possible to replace lost military service medals, awards and decorations. Contact the nearest Veterans Service office.