On July 7, 2014 VA changed its monetary burial benefits regulations to simplify the program and pay eligible survivors more quickly and efficiently. The new regulations allow VA to pay, without a written application, most eligible surviving spouses basic monetary burial benefits at the maximum amount authorized in law through automated systems rather than reimbursing them for actual costs incurred.
Under past regulations, VA paid for burial and funeral expenses only on a reimbursement basis, which required survivors to submit receipts for relatively small one-time payments that VA generally paid at the maximum amount permitted by law.
The new burial regulations now permit VA to pay, at a flat rate, burial and plot or interment allowances thereby enabling VA to automate payment of burial benefits to most eligible surviving spouses and more efficiently process other burial benefit claims.
The burial allowance for a non-service-connected death is $300, and $2,000 for a death connected to military service.
VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001, or up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 11, 2001. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.
VA will pay up to $700 toward burial and funeral expenses for deaths on or after October 1, 2011 (if hospitalized by VA at time of death), or $300 toward burial and funeral expenses (if not hospitalized by VA at time of death), and a $700 plot-interment allowance (if not buried in a national cemetery). For deaths on or after December 1, 2001, but before October 1, 2011, VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance. For deaths on or after April 1, 1988 but before October 1, 2011, VA will pay $300 toward burial and funeral expenses (for Veterans hospitalized by VA at the time of death).
An annual increase in burial and plot allowances for deaths occurring after October 1, 2011 began in fiscal year 2013 and is based on the Consumer Price Index for the preceding 12-month period.
- You have paid for or will be paying for a Veteran’s burial or funeral, AND
- You have not been nor will be 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, AND
- 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 or death, OR
- The Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
NOTE: VA does not pay burial benefits if the deceased:
- Died during active military service, OR
- Was a member of Congress who died while holding office, OR
- Was a Federal prisoner
- Acceptable proof of death as specified in 38 CFR 3.211.
- Complete/submit VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Allowance. You can find an office to submit the form on the VA Facility Locator page, OR
- Apply online using eBenefits, OR
- Work with an accredited representative or agent, OR
- Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you. You can find your regional office on the VA Facility Locator page.
For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, visit the How to Apply page.
Other information regarding VA burial benefits such as flags, headstones and markers is provided by the National Cemetery Administration.