Reimbursement of Burial Expense

Program Description

Veterans Affairs (VA) burial allowances are partial reimbursements of eligible veterans' burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service-related, VA may be able to pay two modest allowances:

  • One for burial and funeral expense, and
  • One for the cemetery plot.

When the cause of death is service-related, the reimbursement comes in the form of a single, larger payment for burial and funeral expenses. In some service-connected death cases, VA can pay a reimbursement for transportation costs.

General Program Requirements

The veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

VA can pay a reimbursement only if the expenses for the funeral/burial have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source.

Generally, at least one of following additional eligibility criteria must also be met. Reimbursement is possible if the veteran:

  • Died because of a service-related disability, OR
  • Was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
  • Was entitled to receive VA compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retired pay, OR
  • Died in a VA hospital or while in a nursing home under VA contract, or while in an approved state nursing home, OR
  • Had a claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date of death, OR
  • Died while traveling, under proper authorization and at VA expense, to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care.

National Guard and Reserve members who were activated for federal military service and later separated are considered to be veterans. Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are considered to be active duty members and veterans, once discharged.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process

To apply for this program, complete the Application for Burial Benefits (VA Form 21-530)k . Once completed, send it back to the VA as directed on the form.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions about this benefit or would like to speak with a benefit specialist, you can call VA at this toll-free number: 1-800-827-1000

People who are hearing impaired may call this toll-free TTY number: 1-800-829-4833