If you have lost someone dear to you who was a member of the United States’ Armed Forces, planning their funeral is different than planning a civilian funeral. You’ll need to take into account any military honors that they might have requested, as well as apply for the death benefits awarded to active and honorably discharged members of the military. These benefits are not automatically awarded and must be applied for by a direct relative of the deceased military member. When you apply for these benefits, you will be required to present the following documentation:
- The social security number of the deceased.
- A certified copy of the death certificate.
- A certified copy of their original DD124.
- Any paid receipts from the hospital, funeral home, crematorium and/or cemetery.
- Other financial and dependent information for survivor benefits which can be found here.
If your loved one died during active duty, the government will provide a $2,000 burial allowance to help pay for cremation, burial, caskets or urns. The VA will also provide a flag for your loved one’s funeral or memorial service and, should you desire it, your loved one can have full military honors at their funeral if they were killed during service to their country.
A plot in one of the country’s 114 national cemeteries is available, but cannot be reserved. If you’ve chosen to have your loved one cremated, there are columbariums in many of the national cemeteries to serve as a burial site for their military urns. The VA will also provide headstones or markers for soldiers buried in national, state veteran or military cemeteries and will also cover the cost of engraving pertinent information onto the marker.
For more on military honors, please take a look at our funeral etiquette blog.