Burial Benefits for Veterans
Losing a loved one is difficult under any circumstances, and it can be challenging to think about financial issues when you are coming to terms with the death emotionally. Yet it is important for families of veterans to know about burial veterans for benefits and some of the services they may be eligible for after losing a loved one. Even if the death is not service-related, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs still provides benefits for families of former service members provided that certain conditions are met. What else do you need to know about burial benefits for veterans and how this matter relates to estate planning in Michigan?
Simplification of Veterans’ Burial Benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, changes to burial benefits went into effect in July 2014, and those changes were aimed at “simplify[ing] the program and pay[ing] eligible survivors more quickly.” With those new regulations, the VA was permitted to pay a flat rate for burial, plot, or interment allowances. In brief, the VA recently changed its regulations to make the process of obtaining burial benefits for veterans more streamlined.
To make clear the specific types of burial benefits for which veterans can be eligible, the VA provides a fact sheet that clarifies who is eligible and the amount that can be paid out.
Who is Eligible for Burial Benefits?
Typically, as the fact sheet explains, an eligible surviving spouse will be paid automatically when the VA is notified of a veteran’s death, and that eligible spouse will not need to submit a claim. Generally speaking, however, is a surviving spouse has not been paid automatically, then the first living person among the following that files a claim will be paid:
- Surviving spouse of the veteran;
- Survivor of a legal union with the veteran;
- Veteran’s child, whether minors or adults;
- urviving parent(s) of the veteran; or
- Executor/Administrator of the veteran’s estate.
Amount of VA Benefits for Veterans
The amount that the VA will pay in burial benefits for a veteran depends upon whether the death was a service-connected death or a non-service-connected death. First, we can explain the benefits for a service-connected death. What does service-connected mean? In brief, the death must have occurred during active military service. If the veteran’s death occurred on or after September 11, 2001, then the burial allowance from the VA is $2,000. For deaths that occurred before September 11, 2001, the burial allowance is $1,500. A survivor can also be eligible to receive some form of reimbursement for transporting the remains of the veteran if the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery.
How much can the VA pay in burial benefits for a non-service-connected death? The answer to this question depends on a number of different factors, including the date of death and whether the veteran was receiving care from a VA hospital at the time of death. For veterans not hospitalized in a VA hospital at the time of death, the amount of the burial benefits depends largely on the date of death. The available benefits are as follows:
- If a death occurred on or after October 1, 2016, the VA burial allowance is $300, plus $749 for a burial plot;
- If the death occurred on or after October 1, 2015, but prior to October 1, 2016, the burial allowance is $300 and $747 for a burial plot; and
- If the veteran’s death happened on or after October 1, 2014, but prior to October 1, 2015, the burial allowance is $300 with an additional $745 for a plot.
If the non-service-connected death occurred while the veteran was hospitalized by the VA, then the burial allowances go up to the same amount as the plot allowance. As such, for a death that occurred on or after October 1, 2016, the VA will pay a burial allowance of $749, along with $749 for the plot.
Contact a Grand Rapids Estate Planning Lawyer
If you have questions about burial benefits for veterans, an experienced Portage probate lawyer can assist you. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Carrier, P.C. today.