Military Benefits

Burial benefits available for Veterans buried in a private cemetery include a Government headstone or marker and a burial flag, at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible for burial allowances. There are not any benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery. The preferred method of establishing veteran eligibility is with the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.  If the DD214 is not available, your funeral director can check with the local office and the St. Louis National Personnel Records Center.

Source:
http://www.cem.va.gov/burial_benefits
The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing military funeral honors. "Honoring Those Who Served" is the title of the DOD program for providing dignified military funeral honors to Veterans who have defended our nation.

Upon the family's request, Public Law 106-65 requires that every eligible Veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps. The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one being a member of the Veteran's parent service of the armed forces. The DOD program calls for funeral directors to request military funeral honors on behalf of the Veterans' family. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration cemetery staff can also assist with arranging military funeral honors at VA national cemeteries. Veterans organizations may assist in providing military funeral honors. When military funeral honors at a national cemetery are desired, they are arranged prior to the committal service by the funeral home.

Source:
http://www.cem.va.gov/military_funeral_honors.asp

Burial Benefits

VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible Veteran’s burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: (1) a burial and funeral expense allowance, and (2) a plot or interment allowance. A veteran who is a Wayne County resident, may be eligible for a $100 funeral allowance and a $100 allowance for the setting of a VA marker from the Wayne County VA.

You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:
  • you paid for a Veteran’s burial or funeral
  • AND you have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased Veteran’s employer
  • AND the Veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable

In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
  • the Veteran died because of a service-related 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 not to reduce his/her 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 pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension 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.

Source:
http://www.benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/burials/Burial.pdf

Government-Furnished Headstone or Marker 

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 Nov. 1, 1990 and whose grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone, VA may also furnish a headstone or marker to supplement the graves or a Medallion to be affixed to the privately purchased headstone.

Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains. The style chosen must be permitted by the officials in charge of the private cemetery where it will be placed.

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. The Wayne County VA will make an allowance of $100 to an eligible veteran for the setting of the VA marker.

Source:
http://www.cem.va.gov/hmm

Burial Flag

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. VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization for each other than dishonorable discharged.

  • Veteran who served during wartime
  • Veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
  • Veteran who served after January 31, 1955
  • 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

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, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it. 

Souce:
http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/burial_benefits/burial_flags.asp