Understanding Veterans' Benefits

Funeral directors play a vital role in providing compassionate and dignified services to families during their time of loss. When it comes to honoring veterans, it is essential for funeral directors to be knowledgeable about the benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits not only assist families in arranging meaningful funerals for their loved ones but also ensure that veterans receive the recognition and respect they deserve for their service. There are key aspects of VA benefits that funeral directors should be aware of, enabling them to guide and support families in navigating the process.

Veteran Affairs Funeral Benefits

Burial in Veteran Affairs National Cemeteries 

  • There are over 140 VA national cemeteries across the United States. These cemeteries provide a final resting place with military honors, perpetual care and a grave marker or headstone at no cost to the family. Funeral Directors can assist families in coordinating burial arrangements with the nearest national cemetery.

Funeral Reimbursement Allowance

  • The funeral reimbursement allowance can help cover the costs associated with the veteran’s burial or cremation. The amount is based on a number of factors, such as the veteran’s service-related death, whether the funeral took place in a VA or non-VA facility and whether the family incurred out-of-pocket expenses.

Military Funeral Honors

  • Military funeral honors provide veterans with final honors as a token of the nation’s gratitude for their service. This program includes the folding and presentation of the United States flag to the family, the playing of Taps and the presence of a uniformed military detail at the graveside service. Funeral directors can help with the details and planning by coordinating with the appropriate military branch or the VA. Families are still entitled to a flag, even if they have not chosen to do military honors.

Headstones and Markers

  • The VA provides granite headstones or markers for eligible veterans’ graves which can be personalized, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery.

 Additional Benefits for Career Military Veterans

  • VA Healthcare
  • Disability Compensation
  • VA Pension
  • Education and Training Programs
  • Home Loan Guarantees
  • VA Automobile and Adaptive Equipment Grants
  • VA Caregiver Support Program
  • VA Dental Insurance Program

In addition to VA benefits, there are hundreds of programs outside of the VA across the country that have been created to assist veterans with things like job assistance, healing, service dogs, housing, therapy, hunting retreats, help for caretakers of veterans, education, fundraising and local memorials to honor veterans.

This blog was a synopsis of Nikki Anne Schmutz’s piece in the magazine, The Independent.  Nikki Anne Schmutz was born and raised in Utah. She is a published writer and has spent many years working with special needs children and adults as a caretaker and Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). In 2016, her life turned upside-down when she was widowed and left to care for four dependent children. Nikki found a role she was made for when she became an Estate Specialist in 2019 at Full-Circle Aftercare. In February 2021, she was promoted to management as the Account Manager where she has been happily directing her funeral home and hospice clients (and their families) through the maze of non-legal personal estate settlement.

To read the entire article by Nikki Anne Schmutz and learn more about additional benefits, check out the Summer 2023 edition of The Independent here. 

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