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

Who is eligible?

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

  • The Veteran’s surviving spouse, OR
  • The survivor of a legal union* between the deceasedVeteran 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 deceasedVeteran

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

The Veteran must have been discharged under conditions otherthan dishonorable. In addition, at least one of the following conditions must bemet:

  • The Veteran died as a result of a service-connecteddisability, OR
  • The Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation atthe time of death, OR
  • The Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension orcompensation, but decided to receive his or her full military retirement or disability pay, OR
  • The Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or whilereceiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
  • The Veteran died while traveling under properauthorization 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 VAcompensation or pension pending at the time of death and would have been entitled to benefits froma date prior to the date of death, OR
  • The Veteran died on, or after, October 9, 1996, while apatient 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, themaximum service-connected burial allowance is $2,000.00. If the Veteran died before September 11, 2001, themaximum service-connected burial allowance is $1,500.00 If the Veteran is buried in a VAnational cemetery, VA may reimburse some or all of the costs of transporting the deceased Veteran’sremains.

Non Service-Connected Death

  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2016, VA willpay a $300.00 burial allowance and $749.00 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, butbefore 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, butbefore October 1, 2015, VA will pay $300.00 for burial allowance and $745.00 for a plot
Effective October 1, 2011, there are highernon-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 willpay a $749.00 burial allowance and $749.00 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, butbefore 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, butbefore 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 properlyhospitalized by the VA, or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transportingthe Veteran’s remains may be reimbursed.

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

Unclaimed Remains

If a Veteran dies and their remains are unclaimed, theentity responsible for the burial of the Veteran would be entitled to a $300.00 burial allowance. If the Veteranis buried in a VA national cemetery, The VA may reimburse the cost of transporting the deceased Veteransremains. 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 forBurial Benefits. You should attach a copy of the Veteran’s military discharge document (DD Form214 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 dialing1-800-827-1000. If you are located in the local dialing area of a VA regional office, you can also call usby checking your local telephone directory. For the hearing impaired, our TDD number is 711.


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