The Veterans Administration provides benefits for a veteran's burial and/or cremation if the next-of-kin can provide a copy of discharge papers (form DD-214) that indicate a discharge other than dishonorable.
These are the benefits:
- a flag
- a grave marker
- a bronze medal if the grave marker is not used
- military honors at the graveside, and
- a Presidential Merit Certificate.
If the burial takes place in a veterans' cemetery a grave and a burial vault are also provided at no charge. A grave can also be reserved for a surviving spouse. The vault and marker are not free for the spouse unless she or he is also a veteran. If you cannot locate the veteran's discharge papers we can help you get a new copy. This website will tell you what we'll need to send with your request. www.archives.gov/veterans/index.html.
There are additional monetary allowances toward burial expenses in special circumstances such as if the veteran's death occurs in a federal VA hospital, or if the veteran was receiving a VA pension at the time of death. Because federal and state guidelines vary depending on the circumstances we will be glad to offer information on an individual basis. The Veterans Administration website also has a lot of very helpful information. www.cem.va.gov
If a soldier dies during wartime, the benefits are very different and more inclusive. For details on this, ask us or visit the website mentioned in the previous paragraph.
The closest national veterans cemetery is Indiantown Gap which is in Annville, Pennsylvania, approximately 85 miles from Wilkes-Barre. It's 1/4 mile off I-81 at exit 85B and people can visit the graves daily from dawn to dusk. http://www.cem.va.gov/CEM/cems/nchp/indiantowngap.asp
Burial is also permitted in any national veterans cemetery in the United States, depending on the availability of graves. There may be additional transportation costs involved if you choose a veterans cemetery which is outside the area. If you're interested in burial in Arlington National Cemetery, there are specific service-related requirements and we can help determine if someone is eligible. There is also information at Arlington Cemetery's website. www.arlingtoncemetery.org/funeral_information/index.html.
Some veterans have life insurance coverage with a company called Government National Life Insurance. We'll help you file the claim for the death benefits. If you have additional questions, their office number is 1-800-669-8477.