Eligibility for military death benefits | Veteran funeral benefits | Veteran funeral service | Information sources
We take great pride in honoring veterans that have passed away. Providing quality military funeral honors is our small way of thanking them for bravely serving our country and fighting for our freedom.
Learn whether your loved one is eligible for military death benefits
It is crucial that you or a family member notifies your chapel’s funeral director that your loved one was a member of the military. We can then contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the appropriate armed forces branch (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard) to see if your loved one is eligible to receive military death benefits. Here are some circumstances in which your loved one would be eligible to receive military death benefits:
- Your loved one was a military member on active duty or was in the Selected Reserve.
- Your loved one was a former military member who served on active duty and left the military under honorable conditions.
- Your loved one completed at least one term of enlistment or a period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and left under honorable conditions.
- Your loved one was a former military member from the Selected Reserve that was discharged due to an incurred or aggravated disability in the line of duty.
Providing your chapel funeral director with your loved one’s DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, would help expedite the application process. There is no concern if you do not have this form, your funeral director can request it on your behalf. If you are interested in obtaining the form, you can request it online from the National Archives.
Gaining eligibility for loved one’s military death benefits can be a bit complex, but that is what we are here to help you do. We will take care of the entire process and explain the benefits that your loved one is entitled to.
Veteran funeral benefits
Below are a few common military death benefits that your loved one may be eligible for.
- A gravesite at any of the 136 Veteran Affairs’ National Cemeteries. Our nearest one is Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan.
- As an alternative to the National Cemeteries operated by the Veteran Affairs, many states have established state veteran cemeteries. Eligibility is quite similar to the ones outlined by the Department of Veterans Affairs but may include residency requirements.
- Most veterans are eligible to receive a headstone, marker or medallion at no cost. Flat markers are available in granite, marble and bronze. The headstones are available in granite and marble.
- Presidential Memorial Certificate
- As already mentioned, an American flag is provided, at no cost, to drape over the casket or accompany the urn of the deceased veteran.
- Burial allowances refer to the flat monetary sum that is paid to cover the Veteran’s funeral costs.
- The casket may be transported via horse-drawn limbers and caissons
- Fighter jets may perform an aerial flyover
- A gun salute — the number of shots fired depends on the veteran’s rank.
- For funerals of commanding officers, a riderless horse that represents a fallen leader will usually follow the horse-drawn hearse.
What does a military funeral service consist of?
On January 1, 2000, Section 578 of Public Law 106-65 of the National Defense Authorization Act was enacted. It became law that the United States Armed Forces must provide all eligible veterans with military funeral honors if requested by his or her family. There will be an honor guard detail of at least two members of the Armed Forces present for all military funerals. One member will be a representative of the branch of armed forces that your loved one was a part of. At a minimum, the honor guard detail will perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps.
We will also pay tribute to your loved one’s sacrifice and service by displaying a flag representing his or her branch of service in the chapel during the visitation and service. If you have any special requests to personalize your loved one’s services, please ask, and we will do all we can to honor them.
As we transport your loved one to an offsite funeral service or in the procession to the cemetery, we will place a special military magnet representing the branch of service on the door of the hearse so as we go by, others will know that we are honoring a veteran. After the presentation of the United States flag to your family, we also can make available a keepsake display box.
Create a memorable veteran funeral ceremony
Need help honoring your veteran? Reach out to us so we can ensure your loved one receives the military death benefits and funeral honors that they deserve.
Pay tribute to your veteran
Military.com. (2018). Military funeral honors
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018). Burial Benefits
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018). Military funeral honors
Section 578 of Public Law 106-65 of the National Defense Authorization Act (2000). Military funerals in the United States