An honorably discharged veteran deserves to be honored for the sacrifices he or she has made to keep the country safe. That’s why the United States government offers burial benefits for those who have served their country.
However, many veterans and their families are misinformed about the benefits they’re due. Some don’t know they are entitled to any benefits. Some believe benefits from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs will cover all funeral costs. Not true.
“There’s actually a variety of options for services,” says Felicia Malone-Williams of Shannon & Malone Chapel Of Peace, Westminster, Colo. “If you’re a veteran who’s been honorably discharged, you have the choice of being buried either in a private or a national cemetery. The benefits will vary depending on the location.”
Burial in a national cemetery can include a gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, a government headstone or marker, burial flag and a Presidential memorial certificate, according to the National Cemetery Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These come at no cost to the family of the veteran, saving thousands in expenses. If the family chooses cremation, the honors and treatment are the same as for burials with a casket.
If a veteran opts to be buried in a private cemetery, the benefits could include a headstone, marker or medallion, a burial flag and the certificate.
Whatever the decision, an attentive Funeral Director can make sure that the process is as easy for the family as possible. Keeping track of discharge papers and checking with a funeral home for any pre-arrangements will help make the process easier.
“It’s important to remember that you make the arrangements for the burial with a funeral provider,” Malone-Williams cautions. “And if you decide to take advantage of the services that a funeral home offers, those are going to be at your expense. You want to be sure to talk to your provider about what you need. We know that it’s a painful time, but at Shannon & Malone Chapel Of Peace, we want to help make the process easy as possible and avoid any potential pitfalls.”
The VA provides some useful questions for a military family considering burying a veteran in a private cemetery. Some important ones to consider are whether there will be a requirement for placing a government headstone or whether there are requirements for additional plot purchases.
“At Shannon & Malone Chapel Of Peace, we’re experts in veterans’ funeral benefits. We want to make sure that the family understands what they include and how to apply,” Malone-Williams says. “We take great pride in providing veterans with respectful, dignified funerals befitting of their service.”
Shannon & Malone Chapel Of Peace Funeral Home welcomes your questions and comments.
Shannon & Malone Chapel Of Peace Funeral Home
Felicia Malone-Williams, Founder, Funeral Director, Mortician in Charge
9035 Wadsworth Pkwy Suite 2500
Westminister, Colo. 80021