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Funeral Benefits for Veterans

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By Emma Castleberry

If you or a loved one is recognized as an American veteran, there are ways to potentially reduce or supplement the cost of a funeral and/or memorial service.

The definition of veteran under federal law is very broad: “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.” For a veteran to be eligible for funeral benefits, it is also important they were not dishonorably discharged. Any other type of discharge does not preclude them from funeral benefits.

It’s possible that you might not have knowledge of your loved one’s service, especially if the deceased is a distant relative or friend. Therefore, it’s worth finding out if the funeral your planning is for a veteran. If so, you will have access to a variety of resources not available for civilian funerals.

Burial Benefits

Most veterans are eligible for burial in one of more than 130 national cemeteries (where there is space available). These national cemetery burials include:

  • the digging and filling of the grave,
  • a Presidential Memorial Certificate signed by the current president,
  • an official marker or headstone,
  • a burial flag,
  • and perpetual care for the grave,

... all at zero cost to the veteran or his/her family. This process can be completed with a casket or ashes.

The National Cemetery Scheduling Office is the point of contact for burial benefits. The office will determine the deceased’s eligibility and walk the funeral planner through the process of scheduling and organizing a funeral at a national cemetery. You can’t reserve a spot in a national cemetery, but you can determine your eligibility in advance.

Burial Allowances

If you’d prefer to host a funeral and burial in your local, family funeral home and church cemetery, veteran families can still qualify for allowances to offset the cost of these ceremonies. This allowance can range from $300 to $2,000 and you can even be reimbursed for a funeral you planned and paid for years ago. Written proof will be required; often in the form of receipts and a letter from the funeral director.

There is an online application for burial allowances at vets.gov. Naturally, there are some limitations to these benefits. They will not be paid if the veteran died during active service or was a federal prisoner, for example. If a veteran chooses to be buried in a national cemetery, these allowances can offset the cost of transporting the body to the cemetery.

Markers, Gravestones and Medallions

Depending on when the veteran died, his or her grave may be eligible for a free gravestone, marker or medallion provided by The Department of Veteran Affairs. Gravestones and markers come in a variety of materials—granite, bronze, marble—and markers are also available for columbarium niches.

A Presidential Memorial Certificate and a burial flag can also be provided free of charge. While the items themselves are free, the cost of installation for these pieces will be incurred by the family.

A Ceremony Worthy of a Veteran

Veterans who have served our country deserve the utmost honor in their memorial and funeral ceremonies. Benefits are available to make these final moments beautiful and worthy of the hero who has passed.

Contact Us

6051 East Seven Mile Road,
Detroit, MI
48234
(East of Mound Road)

contact@hutchisonfuneralhome.com

Direct Line: 313-893-1880
Fax: 313-891-1758

Hutchison Funeral Home

6051 East Seven Mile Road,

Detroit, MI 48234

Phone. 313-893-1880

Email. contact@hutchisonfuneralhome.com