We are honored...
to help celebrate the lives of those who have selflessly and courageously served our country. Our team has experience in planning services designed to recognize your loved one with respect and dignity. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a few different options for death benefits, military funeral honors and memorial items.
Veterans Affairs Death Benefits
Burial in a national cemetery
Veterans are generally eligible for a gravesite at any national cemetery that has space available, including costs associated with opening, closing and perpetual care of the gravesite, a government headstone or marker, burial flag, and Presidential Memorial Certificate. These services are also offered for those veterans who choose cremation and wish for their remains to be buried or inurned in a national cemetery. These benefits are provided at no cost to the family. Spouses and children of the veteran may also be eligible for burial at the same national cemetery as the veteran.
The VA provides a flat rate monetary burial allowance to help offset the burial and funeral costs for eligible veterans. Claims for a non-service related burial allowance must be filed within two years of the burial or cremation. The amount of the allowance varies based on whether the death was service related or not, and the date of death. More information about eligibility, amounts, and application requirements is available here.
Military Funeral Honors
Standard Military Funeral Honors (MFH) are provided as a basic service for all eligible veterans. The ceremony includes a ceremonial folding and presentation of the United States flag and playing of Taps, either a recorded version or played live if a bugler is available at the time of the service. At least two members of the armed forces will be present, one of which will be from the same branch of service as the deceased veteran. The family may also request to have military representatives serve as pallbearers if they choose to do so. Additional honors may include a 7 Person Detail or Full Military Honors, depending on the veteran’s rank and status.
Eligibility for Military Funeral Honors
The following groups of veterans will usually be eligible to receive Military Funeral Honors:
- Active duty military members or those in the Selected Reserve.
- Former service members who served on active duty, provided they were not dishonorably discharged at the end of their service.
- Former military members who finished a minimum of one enlistment term or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserves and were not dishonorably discharged.
- Those who were discharged from the Selected Reserves because of a disability resulting from or aggravated by serving in the line of duty.
Answers to some frequently asked questions and more information about Military Service Honors can be found here.
Presidential Memorial Certificate
A Presidential Memorial Certificate is intended to be a symbol of our nation’s gratitude and recognition of an eligible veteran’s service to our country. It is inscribed with the name of the veteran and bears the signature of the current President. Certificates may be requested by the veteran’s next-of-kin, other relatives, or friends.
The VA provides a headstone, grave marker, or medallion at no charge for the graves of eligible veterans buried anywhere in the world. Eligible dependents buried in a national, state veteran, or military cemetery may also be able to receive one of these monument options. Family members or representatives can apply using the forms provided on the VA website. The applicant can generally request the type of headstone or marker they’d prefer, however some cemeteries have specific requirements for the style of markers they’ll allow. There may be a fee for setting a headstone or marker, depending on the location and the cemetery.
Veterans Burial Flags
One ceremonial burial flag is provided by the VA for the family of a deceased veteran. The flag is presented in order of precedence; generally going first to a surviving spouse (if applicable), and then to any children, parents, brothers or sisters, or other surviving family members. In the event there is no next-of-kin, a friend can request a flag from the VA. Burial flags are intended to be a memento and are not suitable for display outdoors. Only one flag per veteran is available and the VA is unable to replace any damaged or lost flags. Some families also choose to donate their flag to a national cemetery to be flown in the Avenue of Flags on patriotic holidays.