Arlington National Cemetary

No one really likes to think about utilizing memorial benefits in terms of a burial or funeral, which is why so many are uninformed when it comes time to exercise those benefits. There are several things to bear in mind if you’re prepping for next steps after the death of a loved one who served our country; we’ll make the process easier by informing you on how to go about utilizing memorial benefits.

What Are Memorial Benefits?

Other than the actual burial or funeral, you may be wondering what memorial benefits apply? Burial in one of the 131 VA national cemeteries is included – most veterans may be buried within an hour of their home. In addition, the opening and closing of the grave, burial of the remains, or placement of an above ground vault are included. The gravesite will be cared for meticulously in the VA cemetery, any gravestone may contain an inscription, a burial flag will be provided, the deceased will be presented an Award of Presidential Memorial Certificate, military committal service and presentation of honors, and transportation of flower arrangements. The Memorial process is a moving one, and one that is financially relieving toward any family members left.

How To Apply

After the death of the veteran, the spouse or dependent should gather his or her DD-214 discharge papers and go online to the VA Burial and Memorial web site to get started in filling out the necessary documentation. The next step is to follow up with a phone call to the VA office that handles burials and memorials. The web site will guide family members along the process of scheduling a burial at a date and time during the week that suits them, and will assist in making arrangements with a local funeral home, or a VA national cemetery.

Planning Ahead?

Many military participants have inquired about planning ahead in the event of their death. While this is a noble gesture and one that may save some paperwork on the backend, it’s not one that can be prepared before completely in advance. In fact, the VA prevents the reservation of burial plots in any VA cemetery, which negates the arrangement of the remaining details. Essentially, the only way you can help your loved ones practically prepare for your passing, is to gather and safeguard all military documentation (namely discharge papers) in one safe location.

If there are questions or concerns throughout the process of utilizing these Memorial Benefits, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is more than willing to coach you through the process in your time of need. Simply visit their Web site, or give them a call.