How Veterans Can Apply for Financial Funeral Benefits
When a veteran passes away, their family may qualify for certain benefits. As long as the veteran meets certain federal and county criteria, you as a family member should be entitled to financial funeral assistance to help supplement costs associated with funeral expenses, which can include cremation.
You may have some questions about the application process and what the benefits cover. We’ve compiled the most commonly asked questions about veteran’s benefits to help provide clarity and to alleviate potential concerns.
How Does Someone Apply For Financial Funeral Benefits For Veterans?
- Go to Vets.gov and apply online.
The first thing a family can do to apply for veteran financial funeral benefits is to submit an application online via vets.gov.
- Alternatively, they can also submit a paper application.
If the family is not able to apply online, they can also complete a physical paper application. The completed application should be mailed to the Pension Management Center that serves your state. In California the Pension Management Center is St. Paul VA Pension Management Center.
- If you don’t want to apply via online or a physical application, you can also work with an accredited representative.
You can appoint an attorney, claim agent, or voluntary service overseas to work on your behalf to receive the benefits.
- Finally, you can also go into your local regional benefit office and turn in your application in person.
For residents in the Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles Regional Benefit Office is located at 11000 Wilshire Boulevard.
What Kind of Information Do I Need to Apply For Financial Assistance For Veterans?
This is an important question since your loved one won’t be there to provide the information. You’ll need to have access to the following information.
- Their social security number, or Veteran’s Association (VA) file number
- Date and place of birth
- Date and place of death
- Military status and history
- A copy of the veteran’s DD214 or other separation documents
- A copy of the veteran’s death certificate
How Does the Money Get Distributed? Where Does It Go?
If the requirements are met and the family is eligible for the assistance, then the money will go directly to the family. The VA will not apply the funds directly to a funeral service provider or crematorium, rather it is a reimbursement for the expenses already made toward the funeral services. This means that the family will cover the costs of the loved one’s funeral or cremation first and then they will be reimbursed via the veteran funeral benefits. It’s important that you keep all of your receipts so that you can submit them for reimbursement.
Is There Limited Time in Which to Apply For Veteran Funeral Benefits in California?
Yes, there is. In order to receive the funeral benefits, the family must apply for the assistance within two years of the veteran’s burial or cremation.
Is There a Limit on the Compensation? How Much Will the Veteran Family Receive?
The compensation amount will vary from family to family. The assistance the family receives is dependent upon when the veteran passed away as well as several other factors. You can learn more about these factors here.
How Long Before the Family Receives the Funeral Financial Benefits?
While the time varies, it can take up to six months for the VA to process the check and the family to receive the funeral assistance reimbursement.
What If I Need Help During the Application Process?
The VA makes everything very transparent via their application page and even has options for you to message them via Ask VA (AVA). They also provide contact numbers and resource articles to read throughout the process.
Since your loved one served our country, whether in the armed forces or another military service, it’s important that they are honored properly in their passing. Applying for funeral financial benefits will not only acknowledge their service, but also give them peace of mind in death that their family has been taken care of.
Opal Cremation is happy to answer all of your questions when it comes to the passing of a loved one and what you can anticipate during the cremation and funeral process. Knowing how challenging this time can be, Opal Cremation can walk you through step by step what’s expected and how to go about starting to make plans. Compassionate professionals are eagerly awaiting your call and will provide you with all of the information you need about Opal Cremation services in Southern California.
Additional info can be found in these posts:
Quick Resource List for Veteran Families
On Death, Burial, Memorial, and Cremation Benefits for Veterans