As of July 2014, surviving spouses no longer need to apply for burial benefits after the death of a veteran. In the past, survivors had to submit receipts and forms after the burial of a veteran and then wait for a reimbursement check. The amounts were small: $300 for non-service-connected death and $2,000 if it was service connected.
With the positive changes in the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, all authorized claims will be paid automatically once the department is notified of a veteran’s death. Unfortunately, the amounts will remain the same. Other benefits are available, such as a headstone or marker, which will be provided at no cost if the veteran is buried in a national cemetery. For questions on a headstone, call (800) 697-6947.
For the surviving spouse, a funeral director will typically notify the VA and Social Security, but don’t take that for granted. Ask.
To find the nearest state or national cemetery, visit www.cem.va.gov. Information about burial benefits and eligibility in a national VA cemetery are also available on this website.
To reach a National Cemetery Office, call (866) 900-6417. Call (800) 535-1117 for follow-ups.
Andy Gero is a life member of the VFW, Post 1614 and the American Legion, Post 288 in La Crescenta. He can be reached through the CV Weekly, (818) 248-2740, or write Crescenta Valley Weekly at 3800 La Crescenta Ave., Suite 101, La Crescenta, CA 91214.