The following documents will be needed when applying for benefits related to a veteran's death:
1. Veteran's Discharge Certificate (DD Form 214) or Report of Casualty (DD Form 1300) provided by your Service Casualty Office.
2. Veteran's Social Security Number.
3. Veteran's Death Certificate, with the cause of death listed (if the veteran did not die in a VA healthcare facilty).
4. Veteran's Birth Certificate (to determine parent's benefits).
5. Marriage Certificate.
6. Divorce Decree(s) (if any).
7. Each child's Birth Certificate, Adoption and/or Custody documents.
8. Social Security Numbers/Cards for all family members.
9. Wills and Deeds of Trust.
10. Government Life Insurance policies.
FEDERAL VA VETERAN BURIAL BENEFITS
The VA offers certain benefits and services to honor America's deceased veterans. These include:
1. Burial in a VA National Cemetery: Eligible veterans, their spouses and dependents can be buried in a VA National Cemetery at no cost to the family.
2. Headstones and Markers: Eligible veterans are proided a headstone or marker at no cost.
3. Presidential Memorial Certificates: Issued upon request to recognize the military service of honorably discharged deceased veterans.
4. Military Funeral Honors: At the family's request, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and presentation of the US flag and the playing of "Taps".
5. Burial Flags: Funeral directors will provide an American flag, made available by the VA, to drape an eligible veteran's casket.
6. Reimbursement of Burial Expenses: Generally, the VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the veteran's death is service-related. For certain other veterans, the VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral allowance and a $300 plot allowance.
Upon request, the VA will provide a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world at no charge. (Note: Headstones and marker are provided for eligible spouses and dependents of Veterans only in a national, military post/base or state Veterans cemetery; spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery are not eligible for a government-furnished headstone or marker.)
For burials in a National Cemetery, a National Cemetery representative will assist the next-of-kin or authorized representative in ordering the headstone or marker. For burials in a private cemetery, the next-of-kin or authorized representative may apply for a headstone or marker at the time of burial; your funeral director can assist you in obtaining the appropriate application form.
PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATES
A Presidential Memorial Certificate honors the memory of honorable discharged deceased veterans. The next-of-kin and loved ones of a deceased veteran are eligible to request a certificate. A copy of the deceased veteran's military discharge document along with a photocopy of the death certificate must be provided when requesting a certificate.
Requests for a Presidential Memorial Certificate may be made via phone, 202-565-4259, or in person at any VA Regional Office. A complete listing of Veteran Services Offices can be found at the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs website: http://floridavets.org.
In Lake County, contact:
Lake County Veteran Services
315 W. Main Street, Suite 525
Tavares, FL 32778
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00-5:00
MILITARY BURIAL FLAG
A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who honorably served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a veteran's military service to his or her country. Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin as a keepsake at the conclusion of the funeral service following its use. Your funeral director will assist you in obtaining a flag from your regional VA office or local U.S. Post Office.
MILITARY FUNERAL HONORS
"Honoring Those Who Served" is the national program for providing dignified military funeral honors to veterans who have defended our nation. Upon the family's request, every eligible veteran may receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of "Taps". A military funeral honors detail will consist of two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one being a member of the veteran's parent service of the armed forces; veteran's service organizations or volunteer groups may help provide honors.
Your funeral director will request military funeral honors on behalf of the veteran's family from the U.S. DOD, NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) or the NY National Guard. It is important to advise your funeral director immediately if a Military Honors Ceremony is desired because it often takes 48 hours to process and implement a request for such services.
REIMBURSEMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES
If a veteran's death was service-related, the VA will pay up to $2,000 toward the burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001. The VA will pay up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 10, 2001. If the veteran is buried in VA national cemetery, some or al of the cost of transporting the veteran's remains may be reimbursed.
There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims in service-connected death cases. If the death was non-service-related, the VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance or deaths on or after December 1, 2001. If the death happened while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the veteran's remains may be reimbursed. In non-service-related death cases, claims must be filed within two years of burial or cremation. To apply for reimbursement of burial expenses, complete VA Form 21-530 (Application for Burial Benefits), which is available for download at
You will need to attach a copy of the veteran's military discharge document (DD 214 or equivalent), death certificate, and funeral and burial bills marked "paid in full". If the death was non-service-related, the VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance for deaths on or after December 1, 2001. The plot-interment allowance is $150 for deaths prior to December 1, 2001. If the death happened while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing home case, some or all of the costs for transporting the veteran's remains may be reimbursed.
In non-service-related death cases, claims must be filed within two years of burial or cremation. To apply for reimbursement of burial expenses, complete VA Form 21-530 (Application for Burial Benefits), which is available for download at You will need to attach a copy of the veteran's military discharge document (DD 214 or equivalent), death certificate, and funeral and burial expenses marked "paid in full".
Veteran Administration service representatives can answer questions about benefits eligibility and application procedures. A veteran's family may be entitled to benefits such as:
1. Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for spouse or dependent children
2. Death Pension for spouse or dependent children
3. VA Burial Benefits
National Service VA Life Insurance: Contact the nearest VA benefits office at 1-800-827-1000 for more information.
If your loved one was a member of a veterans' organization such as the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), or Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), ask your funeral director to contact the organization's service representative to arrange for a ritual service and casket bearers.
The post representative should also be informed if the family wishes to have the flag presented to the next-of-kin during the graveside service.
Veterans and next-of-kin of deceased veterans have the same rights to full access to military records. Next-of-kin are the widow or widower (who has not remarried), son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran. You may now use vetrecs.archives.gov to order a copy of your military records.
The VA offers bereavement counseling to parents, spouses and children of Armed Forces personnel who died in the service of their country. Family members of reservists and National Guard personnel who die while on duty are also eligible for this program. VA's bereavement counseling is provided at no cost in community-based Vet Centers located near the family or can oftentimes be made available in the family's home or where the family feels most comfortable.
Families may request this service by calling 202-273-9116 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIMING IS IMPORTANT
Any claim for VA benefits should be filed as promptly as possible to insure the earliest effective date of awarding benefits. There is no specific time limit for claiming reimbursement of burial expenses for a service-related death. In other cases, claims must be filed within two (2) years of the veteran's burial.
While we try to keep this information current, we suggest you go to the following websites: