The VA does not cover the entire cost of funeral or cremation arrangements.
There is a commonly held misconception that the VA pays for all funeral and/or cremation arrangements of an honorably discharged veteran. This is not the case. There are certain benefits available, but usually only apply to armed forces retirees, those with a service-connected disability and those who died in a VA medical facility or in a long term nursing care facility under VA contract. We will assist you in determining your eligibility and with obtaining your benefits.
Documentation to verify military service.
Military service is verified by providing form DD214 commonly known as discharge papers. If this form cannot be produced, we can assist you in obtaining military records either through the VA Regional Office in Togus or by filing a request with the Military National Personnel Record Center.
United States Flag
If so requested, we will file the necessary document and obtain a flag to drape the casket or to accompany the urn of the veteran. Only one flag may be provided and it is usually given to the next of kin.
Military Honors Ceremonies
If so requested, we will arrange for military honors to be rendered at the cemetery or place of services. This usually includes the playing of "Taps" and the folding and presentation of the flag.
Any member of the armed forces who dies while on active duty or any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable are entitled to be buried in a VA cemetery. Under certain conditions, the surviving spouse and minor children of the deceased veteran are also entitled to this benefit. The closest such facility to us is the Southern Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Springvale. Burial in this cemetery includes a grave site, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone and perpetual care, all at no cost to the family. Urns are buried in the same manner and with the same honor as caskets. You may not reserve space ahead of time in the veterans cemetery but you can obtain a Certificate of Eligibility which registers you with the state that it is your intention to be buried within the veterans cemetery system. Space is assigned only at need, but adjacent space will be reserved at that time for a spouse or minor. The veterans cemetery does not operate on holidays, weekends or on state shut down days. Burials are conducted one at a time, on the hour between 9 AM and 2 PM. We will assist you in making all arrangements with the veterans cemetery.
Headstones and Markers
If so requested, we will file the necessary documents to obtain a government headstone to be placed on the grave site. We will accept delivery of the stone or plaque, make sure it is properly engraved and then make the arrangements to have it installed. Although this marker is provided at no charge, most cemeteries have a fee for installation. We will assist you with all of these details.
Veterans buried in a private cemetery may be eligible to receive a partial reimbursement for their burial costs. For a non-service related death, a burial allowance of up to $300 and a plot allowance of up to an additional $300 may be given. For service related deaths, benefits up to $2000 may be paid. We will assist you with determining eligibility and with filing the necessary documents to obtain reimbursement.
The VA does not provide a casket.
Neither the VA nor the branches of service provide a free casket unless the death occurs on active duty. We offer several caskets which are appropriate for veterans.
If so requested, we will file the necessary document to obtain any number of copies of a Presidential Memorial Certificate which is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current president, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans.