Veterans’ benefits are available to U.S. Armed Forces members who die while on active duty. They are also available to those who were separated from active duty and completed the required period of service. Excluded are those who were dishonorably discharged or found guilty of a capital crime or subversive activities.
Eligibility extends to members of Reserve Components, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Commissioned Officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service, and World War II Merchant Mariners. Spouses and dependent children of eligible living and deceased veterans and armed forces members may also be eligible.
Veteran’s benefits apply to both casketed remains and cremated remains, including:
- Free burial grave in a national cemetery
- Opening and closing of the grave and perpetual care
- Free headstones and markers
- Burial flag
- Free grave liner for casketed remains
- Presidential Memorial Certificate
- Lump sum payment up to $300 to families of eligible retiree veterans and up to $1,500 for veterans who die of service-related disability.
Across the country, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ maintains 119 national cemeteries (with 6 more legally mandated) and 33 soldier’s lots and monument sites. Many states have established veterans cemeteries with eligibility requirements similar to national cemeteries. Requests for burial are usually submitted by the funeral director handling the funeral arrangements. The following information should be provided to the veterans’ cemetery.
- Full name and military rank
- Branch of service
- Social security number
- Service number
- VA claim number, if applicable
- Date and place of birth
- Date and place of death
- Date of retirement or last separation from active duty
- Copy of military separation documents.
Veteran’s Day Prayer
Today we honor our veterans,
worthy men and women
who gave their best
when they were called upon
to serve and protect their country.
We pray that you will bless them, Lord,
for their unselfish service
in the continual struggle
to preserve our freedoms, our safety,
and our country’s heritage, for all of us.
Bless them abundantly
for the hardships they faced,
for the sacrifices they made
for their many different contributions
to America’s victories
over tyranny and oppression.
We respect them, we thank them,
we honor them, we are proud of them,
and we pray that you will watch over
these special people
and bless them with peace and happiness.
In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.
By Joanna Fuchs