If you are a family member of a veteran who recently passed away, the responsibility may have fallen on you to handle the funeral arrangements and ensure your loved one is honored, even in death. What you may not realize, however, is that the United States government provides valuable burial benefits for deceased veterans, and taking advantage of those benefits can help families cover many of the costs involved, including:
- Burial and funeral
- The plot (gravesite)
- Transportation of the veteran’s remains for burial
Along with providing monetary burial benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will also provide a military headstone or marker, a burial flag, a presidential memorial certificate, and perpetual care of the gravesite—all at no cost to the family.
What type of headstones are available?
According to the National Cemetery Administration, family members may choose either a flat grave marker (in granite, marble, or bronze) or an upright headstone in granite or marble. If the individual was cremated, the VA will also provide a bronze niche marker. Keep in mind that if you are burying your loved one in a private cemetery (as opposed to a national cemetery, state veteran cemetery, or military post/base cemetery), there may be a fee for the placement and setting of the military headstone.
Before you call to schedule a burial, make sure you have the veteran's DD214.
One of the first things you will be asked when you contact the funeral home to make arrangements for your deceased veteran family member is whether or not you have a copy of their DD214. The DD Form 214 is formally known as the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, and it's what you will use to show proof of military service and honorable (or anything other than dishonorable) discharge. In other words, you need it to prove the veteran is eligible to receive a military headstone and other burial benefits. If you cannot locate your loved one's DD214, you may need to order a copy prior to making funeral arrangements to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Veteran-owned DD214Direct helps you get the documents you need, when you need them.
Our cutting-edge technology platform and keen knowledge of government protocol and procedure allow us to deliver your documents faster than you could get them on your own. First, we digitize both your request and the returned documents, using electronic signatures to avoid extra time with the postal service. We also integrate email and fax throughout our entire process, while many agencies do not. To further expedite the process, our team ensures your initial request is filled out properly the first time and includes the necessary supporting documentation so that it doesn't bounce back. In addition, we break up multiple requests (DD214, OMPF, etc.) so that each piece is handled separately and one does not delay the other. Once your request is processed, DD214Direct becomes your personal advocate, working directly with the agency that holds your records (currently there are about 75 independent agencies) and immediately responding to any agency issues on your behalf. In many cases, DD214Direct is able to advance your request to a higher-priority workflow. Finally, we have team members at many locations to drop off and pick up documents. Much like paying a small fee to have your taxes done by a professional, DD214Direct provides the service and convenience you’ve been hoping for, plus we make it a lot easier. Once we locate your DD214, we can email you a copy immediately—a service not offered by the government. And tracking your request through us is simple, so you never have to worry about long hold times and inconclusive answers. Ready to get started? Click here to begin the order process.