Eggers is sincerely grateful for the service and sacrifices of our veterans. As a United States veteran, you are entitled to specific funeral-related benefits and services. At Eggers, we have the experience and knowledge to guide you through obtaining the benefits available to you.
Veterans are entitled to burial in a national cemetery, a grave marker (regardless of the cemetery), and a flag. Spouses and dependent children are also entitled to a lot and marker but only in a national cemetery. There will be no charges for opening or closing the grave, a vault or liner, or setting the marker in a national cemetery. Depending on the circumstances, family may be responsible for all other expenses including transportation to the cemetery.
- Death during active duty. All funeral expenses will be paid by the military—body preparation, casket, transportation to the place of disposition, interment (if in a national cemetery), and marker. In addition, as of July, 2005, next-of-kin are entitled to a "death gratuity" of $100,000, retroactive to October 7, 2001.
- Death due to a service related injury. There is a $2,000 "burial allowance" for these veterans which may be used to cover some of the funeral director's expenses, casket, and transportation to the cemetery. If death occurred in a VA facility, transportation of the body to the cemetery will be paid, provided it is no farther than the last place of residence. If burial is not in a national cemetery, there is a $300 "interment allowance," but it is unlikely that will cover opening and closing of the grave, vault charges, or the cost of the lot. Although a marker is available at no charge, the private cemetery may have a setting fee.
- Nonservice-related death in a VA facility OR while collecting a VA pension or disability compensation. There is a $300 "burial allowance" which may be used towards funeral expenses. Although burial in a national cemetery is free to these veterans, all other burial expenses are the responsibility of the family. Transportation to a national cemetery (not farther than the residence of the deceased) will be provided only if the death occurs in a VA facility. The $300 interment allowance applies when burial is in a cemetery other than a national cemetery.
- Death outside a VA facility, not receiving military
pension or compensation. The $2,000 and $300 benefits do not apply, nor
is there reimbursement for transportation to the cemetery. The lot in a
national cemetery, any required vault, interment, a marker, and flag
are the only burial benefits. If interment is in other than a national
cemetery, the family is responsible for the cost of the lot, opening and
closing charges, the vault, and any fee charged for setting the
government marker if that is selected. The family must also bear all
other funeral costs.
Spouse and DependentsA spouse and dependents of an eligible veteran are entitled to specific burial benefits and services. Please contact us to discuss available benefits based on your individual circumstances.
Others Who May be EligibleThere are a number of others who may be eligible for veterans' burial benefits if the person has provided military-related service, including civilians who were involved with military efforts during war-time. Members of the National Guard and Reserves with 20 years of service are eligible. Some Public Health Service personnel are also eligible. Please inquire if you believe you might be entitled to such benefits.
- Markers are available to all veterans, spouses, and dependent children buried in a national cemetery and will be set without charge. For veterans who died before Sept. 11, 2001, markers are available to them (but not to the spouse or dependents) for use in other cemeteries unless the grave has already been marked by a private memorial. For veterans who died on or after Sept. 11, 2001, the government will provide a headstone even if the grave already has a private marker. The installation cost must be borne by the family when in a non-government cemetery. Several styles of markers are available and must be consistent with existing monuments. Niche markers for cremains are also available. Inscription must include name, branch of service, year of birth, year of death (in this order) and may include emblem of belief, rank, and decorations earned. At private expense, additional items such as nicknames and terms of endearment may be added but must be approved by the VA.
Miscellaneous Benefits & Additional Information
- You may not reserve space in a national cemetery ahead of time; arrangements are made only at the time of death. Therefore, there is no guarantee that spouses will be interred side-by-side.
- Burials in a national cemetery are not usually conducted on weekends.
- National cemeteries provide space for both body burial and cremated remains.
- Check with the preferred cemetery regarding gravesite adornments other than natural cut flowers.
- Military honors or a funeral honor guard may be available from nearby military installations or veterans groups. Fly-overs are reserved for those on active duty at the time of death.
- A flag is provided on request for the burial of any veteran. Apply through the VA and pick up at a U.S. Post Office. Family members may wish to purchase a flag case for later display and are available through private sources.
- Next-of-kin, other relatives or friends may request a "Presidential Memorial Certificate." More than one may be requested.
- A family may apply directly to the VA for all benefits, although you may find it more convenient to allow the funeral director to do so on your behalf.
- When the body of a veteran without next-of-kin is unclaimed from a VA facility and the estate is without sufficient assets, the VA will assume responsibility for burial.
- Other than for sea burial, there are NO casket requirements for routine body burial.
- "No-fee" passports are available for family visiting overseas gravesites or memorials.
- The National Cemetery System may be asked to perform a search to locate anyone interred in a national cemetery. In addition to general vital statistics, you will need to know the state from which the veteran entered military service.
- There are state-run veterans cemeteries that may offer the same or similar benefits, with some restrictions. For a listing of VA cemeteries, please check http://cem.va.gov
The VA has received complaints from some veterans who were approached by commercial funeral outfits offering free cemetery lots or other so-called veterans benefits. They do NOT represent the U.S. government! Always be sure to ask:
- Must you also purchase another lot?
- Where is it located? How much will it cost?
- Is "perpetual care" additional?
- What are the costs for opening and closing each grave?
- Must certain memorials be purchased through the cemetery?
- What are the costs for setting memorials?
- Is a vault required? Even for cremated remains? May it be purchased elsewhere?
- Are there marker or planting restrictions?
- What are the "administrative" charges?
- Who owns the cemetery? Are there nearby municipal or religious cemeteries which charge less for the same services?
Burial At Sea
Burials at Sea (or the scattering of cremated remains) at sea is available to all veterans and dependents and is provided by the Navy or US Coast Guard. A flag is required - if the flag is supplied by the family, it can be returned. If supplied by the Navy, it will not be. Because sea burials are done at the convenience of the military, the family may not witness sea burial. Please contact us for additional information regarding options for a burial at sea.