VA burial allowances are cash allowances paid to an eligible veteran's family to help defray burial and funeral costs. VA will pay a different amount depending on whether the death was considered service-connected or not, or if the veteran was hospitalized by the VA at the time of death.
Reimbursements are generally described as two payments:
- a burial (including cremation) and funeral expense allowance
- a plot interment allowance
Service-Related Death - The maximum service-connected burial allowance is $2,000. If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA reimburses some or all of the cost of transporting the remains.
Nonservice-Related Death - VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $796 for a plot.
VA Hospitalized Veteran - If the veteran was hospitalized by VA when they died, VA will pay a $796 burial allowance and $796 for a plot.
Indigent Veteran With No Next-of-Kin - The VA will furnish either a casket or cremation urn for interment in either a national, state, or tribal veterans cemetery.
The veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, and at least one of the following conditions must be met:
- they died as a result of a service-connected disability
- they were receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death
- they were entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided instead to receive their full military retirement or disability pay
- they died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility
- they died while on authorized travel to or from VA treatment
- they had an original or reopened claim for VA compensation or pension pending at the time of death and would have been entitled to benefits from a date prior to the date of death
- they died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA–approved state nursing home.
Who Can Receive the Benefit
- surviving spouse
- the survivor of a legally recognized union
- the children, regardless of age
- the veteran's parent
- the executor or administrator of the veteran's estate
Eligible surviving spouses of record are paid automatically upon notification of the veteran’s death, without the need to submit a claim. VA may grant additional benefits, including the plot or interment allowance and transportation allowance, if it receives a claim for these benefits.
If necessary, you can apply by filling out VA Form 21P-530, Application for Burial Benefits. You should attach a copy of the veteran’s military discharge document (DD 214 or equivalent) and a death certificate. If you are claiming transportation expenses, please attach a receipt for the expenses paid.
You can call VA toll-free at 800-827-1000 for assistance.
Stay On Top Of Your Benefits
Military benefits are always changing -- keep up with everything from pay to health care by signing up for a free Military.com membership, which will send all the latest benefits straight to your inbox, as well as give you access to up-to-date pay charts and more.