Although it is not appealing to consider, as a retired servicemember it is important to know about your mortuary and burial benefits. This information can help you make plans for, and communicate your burial wishes to those who remain.
In general, most retirees are not authorized mortuary benefits at government expense. They may be authorized to receive burial benefits, but are not authorized mortuary benefits, such as the shipment and care of the body. However, most veterans are authorized burial benefits based on their military service. These benefits include burial in a Government cemetery, a grave marker, and burial honors.
Retirees are not eligible for mortuary benefits unless they were admitted to a government hospital while on active duty and then die before being discharged from the hospital.
Retirees and their eligible family members who die outside the U.S. may be eligible for preparation of their remains on a reimbursable basis for a nominal fee in an Armed Services mortuary if such services are available at the place of death and are requested by the Department of State. Family members should contact the American Consulate in the country where the death occurred.
While preparation of the body for transport may be paid for by the government (to be reimbursed later) transportation of the remains to the preparing mortuary, casket, permits and fees, and further transportation of remains must be paid from private funds.
Transportation of Retirees Remains
Retirees who die while in a military hospital in the U.S. are authorized transportation of remains from the place of death to the place of burial, providing the place of burial is no further than the retiree's last residence.
When the place of death and place of burial are local to the residence, transportation is authorized for the removal of the remains from the place of death to a local funeral home and from the local funeral home to a local cemetery.
Transportation of remains of eligible family members of retirees who die in a U.S. military hospital is also authorized. The installation mortuary officer at the place of death should be consulted for details.
Remains of retirees are authorized transportation of remains from overseas to the United States on U.S. military aircraft on a reimbursable or space available basis.
Retirees who die in a VA hospital or nursing home may be eligible for transportation of remains by VA. The local VA office should be contacted for eligibility rules.
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