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

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

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

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

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

The Veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:

  • The Veteran died as a result of a service-connected 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 to receive his or her full 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 for VA compensation or pension pending at the time of death and would have been entitled to benefits 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.

HOW MUCH DOES VA PAY?

Service-Connected Death

If the Veteran died on or after September 11, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $2,000. If the Veteran died before September 11, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $1,500. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA may reimburse some or all of the costs of transporting the deceased Veteran’s remains.

Non Service-Connected Death

  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $747 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, but before October 1, 2015, VA will pay $300 for burial allowance and $745 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2013, but before October 1, 2014, VA will pay $300 burial allowance and $734 for a plot.

 

Effective October 1, 2011, there are higher non-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, 2015, VA will pay a $747 burial allowance and $747 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, but before October 1, 2015, VA will pay a $745 burial allowance and $745 for a plot.
  • If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2013, but Before October 1, 2014, VA will pay a $734 burial allowance and $734 for a plot.

If the death occurred while the Veteran was properly hospitalized by VA, or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the Veteran’s remains may be reimbursed.

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

Unclaimed Remains

If a Veteran dies and their remains are unclaimed, the entity responsible for the burial of the Veteran would be entitled to a $300 burial allowance. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA may reimburse the cost of transporting the deceased Veterans remains. VA may also reimburse for the cost of a plot.