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Veterans Benefits

The basic Military Funeral Honors (MFH) ceremony consists of the folding and presentation of the United States flag to the veterans' family and the playing of Taps. The ceremony is performed by a funeral honors detail consisting of at least two members of the Armed Forces.

The Funeral Honors rendered to you or your veteran will be determined by the status of the veteran.  The type of Funeral Honors may be Full Military Honors, 7 Person Detail or a Standard Honors Team Detail.

At least one of the funeral honors detail will be from the Armed Force in which the deceased veteran served.  Taps may be played by a bugler or, if a bugler is not available, by using a quality recorded version. Military Funeral Honor Teams may act as Pall Bearers if requested by the veteran/family.

Who is eligible for Military Funeral Honors?

  • Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.
  • Former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

Who is not eligible for Military Funeral Honors?

  • Any person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a bar to veteran's benefits. 
  • Any person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service. 
  • Any person discharged from the Selected Reserve prior to completing one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service for reasons other than a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
  • Any person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

How do I establish veteran eligibility?

The preferred method is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.  If the DD Form 214 is not available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service can be used.  The DD Form 214 may be obtained by filling out a Standard Form 180 and sending it to:

National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132

The Standard Form 180 may be obtained from the National Records Center or via the following web site: http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf

Is anyone else eligible to receive funeral honors?

Yes. Members of the Commissioned Officer Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as members of a Uniformed Service, are also eligible to receive funeral honors.

For NOAA personnel, eligibility is established using NOAA Form 56-16, Report of Transfer or Discharge. If the family does not have a copy of the NOAA Form 56-16, it may by obtained by contacting the Chief, Officer Services Division, NOAA Commissioned Personnel Center at (301) 713-7715. or by writing:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
Commissioned Personnel Center 
Chief, Officer Services Division (CPC1) 
1315 East-West Highway, Room 12100 
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

For PHS personnel, funeral honors eligibility is established using PHS Form 1867, Statement of Service (equivalent to the DD Form 214).  If the family does not have a copy of the Statement of Service, it may be obtained by contacting the Privacy Coordinator for the Commissioned Corps at (240) 453-6041 or writing:

Division of Commissioned Personnel/HRS/PSC 
Attention: Privacy Act Coordinator 
5600 Fishers Lane 
4-36 
Rockville, Maryland 20857

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.   For eligible veterans that died on or after November 1, 1990, the VA may also provide a headstone or marker for graves that are already marked with a private headstone or marker. When the grave is already marked, applicants will have the option to apply for either a traditional headstone or marker, or a new device (available spring 2009). 

 

Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.

 

When burial or memorialization is in a national cemetery, state veterans' cemetery, or military post/base cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin or authorized representative.

 

Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a Government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a national cemetery, state veteran's cemetery, or military post/base cemetery.

 

Note: There is no charge for the headstone or marker itself, however arrangements for placing it in a private cemetery are the applicant's responsibility and all setting fees are at private expense.

 

A United States 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 military service to his or her country. The VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization for:

  •  A veteran who served during wartime
  • A veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
  • A veteran who served after January 31, 1955
  • A peacetime veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950
  • Certain persons who served in the organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while in service of the U.S. Armed Forces and who died on or after April 25, 1951
  • Certain former members of the Selected Reserves

Who Is Eligible to Receive the Burial Flag?

Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, the VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it. For those VA national cemeteries with an Avenue of Flags, families of veterans buried in these national cemeteries may donate the burial flags of their loved ones to be flown on patriotic holidays.

 How Can You Apply?

Our funeral directors will help you may apply for the flag by completing VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes.  A valid copy of the veteran's discharge papers is required.

Can a Burial Flag Be Replaced?

The law allows us to issue one flag for a veteran's funeral. We cannot replace it if it is lost, destroyed, or stolen. However, some veterans' organizations or other community groups may be able to help you get another flag.

How Should the Burial Flag Be Displayed?

The proper way to display the flag depends upon whether the casket is open or closed. VA Form 27-2008 provides the correct method for displaying and folding the flag. The burial flag is not suitable for outside display because of its size and fabric. It is made of cotton and can easily be damaged by weather.

 

For More Information, Please Call Us at 401-723-9792 or the VA at 1-800-827-1000 (toll free)

VA burial allowances are flat-rate monetary benefits that are generally paid at the maximum amount authorized by law for an eligible Veteran’s burial and funeral costs. A VA regulation change in 2014 simplified the program to pay eligible survivors quickly and efficiently. Eligible surviving spouses of record are paid automatically upon notification of a Veteran’s death, without the need to submit a claim. VA may grant additional benefits, including the plot or interment allowance and transportation allowance, if it receives a claim for these benefits.

Who is eligible?

If the burial benefit has not been automatically paid to the surviving spouse, VA will pay the first living person to file a claim of those listed below:

  • The Veteran’s surviving spouse, OR
  • The survivor of a legal union* between the deceased Veteran and the survivor, OR
  • The Veteran’s children, regardless of age, OR
  • The Veteran’s parents or surviving parent, OR
  • The executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased Veteran

*Legal union means a formal relationship between the decedent and the survivor existed on the date of the Veteran’s death, which was recognized under the law of the State in which the couple formalized the relationship and evidenced by the State’s issuance of documentation memorializing the relationship.

The Veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:

  • The Veteran died as a result of a service-connected disability, OR
  • The Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
  • The Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided to receive his or her full military retirement or disability pay, OR
  • The Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
  • The Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to, or from, a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR
  • The Veteran had an original or reopened claim for VA compensation or pension pending at the time of death and would have been entitled to benefits from a date prior to the date of death, OR
  • The Veteran died on, or after, October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.

How much does the VA pay?

Service-Connected Death

If the Veteran died on or after September 1, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $2,000.00. If the Veteran died before September 11, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $1,500.00 If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA may reimburse some or all of the costs of transporting the deceased Veteran’s remains.

Non Service-Connected Death

  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2016, VA will pay a $300.00 burial allowance and $749.00 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, but before October 1, 2016, VA will pay a $300.00 burial allowance and $747.00 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, but before October 1, 2015, VA will pay $300.00 for burial allowance and $745.00 for a plot
Effective October 1, 2011, there are higher non-service-connected death rates payable if the Veteran was hospitalized by VA at the time of his or her death.


  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2016, VA will pay a $749.00 burial allowance and $749.00 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, but before October 1, 2016, VA will pay a $747.00 burial allowance and $747.00 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, but before October 1, 2015, VA will pay a $745.00 burial allowance and $745.00 for a plot.

If the death occurred while the Veteran was properly hospitalized by the VA, or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the Veteran’s remains may be reimbursed.

Note: If the Veteran dies while traveling at VA expense for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, VA will pay burial and plot allowances and transportation expenses.

Unclaimed Remains

If a Veteran dies and their remains are unclaimed, the entity responsible for the burial of the Veteran would be entitled to a $300.00 burial allowance. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, The VA may reimburse the cost of transporting the deceased Veterans remains. The VA may also reimburse for the cost of a plot.

How can you apply?

You can apply by completing VA Form 21P-530 Application for Burial Benefits. You should attach a copy of the Veteran’s military discharge document (DD Form 214 or equivalent) and a death certificate. If you are claiming transportation expenses, please attach a receipt for the expenses paid.

You can contact the VA toll-free within the U.S. by dialing 1-800-827-1000. If you are located in the local dialing area of a VA regional office, you can also call us by checking your local telephone directory. For the hearing impaired, our TDD number is 711.

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