VA burial benefits are paid to the families of all eligible veterans, but it is important to understand the amount of the reimbursement and the criteria for eligibility.
The veteran must have received a military discharge that was under conditions other than dishonorable.
Payment of the VA burial benefits is usually made to the surviving spouse, but can be made to other family members. Surviving spouses of record (typically those whose spouse was receiving compensation, pension and/or aid & attendance benefits) will be paid automatically upon the VA receiving notification of the veteran's death. A claim form is not needed for this reimbursement.
If a surviving spouse has not been paid through the automatic process, then a claim form must be filed. The VA-21P-530 form can be obtained from the VA website, a VA Regional Office, the attorney handling the estate or by calling the VA and asking for the form.
The amount of the VA burial benefit payment depends on the circumstances of the veteran at the time of death. If the veteran died due to a service-connected disability then the payment is up to $2,000. If the veteran's death was not related to a service-connected disability then the payment is $300 if they were not hospitalized by the VA at the time of their death and up to $762 if the veteran was hospitalized by the VA at the time of their death.
In addition to a monetary payment, VA burial benefits also include a government headstone or marker and a burial flag to be used at the service and then given to the family.
No VA burial benefits are paid when the veteran was dishonorably discharged, is buried in a national cemetary (although the cost of transporting the deceased can be reimbursed), was serving on active duty, was a member of Congress at the time of death or was a Federal prisoner.
If you have questions about probating the estate of a deceased veteran, including VA benefits, please call us at 919-825-3112 to discuss your situation.