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How to apply for a Veterans burial allowance

Find out how to get Veterans burial allowances (sometimes called “Veterans death benefits”) to help cover burial, funeral, and transportation costs.

Can I get allowances to help pay for a Veteran’s burial and funeral costs?

You may be able to get Veterans burial allowances if you’re paying for the burial and funeral costs and you won’t be reimbursed by any other organization, like another government agency or the Veteran’s employer. The requirements listed below must also be true.

One of these relationships or professional roles describes your connection to the Veteran. You’re:

  • The Veteran’s surviving spouse (Note: we recognize same-sex marriages), or
  • The surviving partner from a legal union (a relationship made formal in a document issued by the state recognizing the union), or
  • A surviving child of the Veteran, or
  • A parent of the Veteran, or
  • The executor or administrator of the Veteran’s estate (someone who officially represents the Veteran)

The Veteran must not have received a dishonorable discharge, and one of these circumstances must be true. The Veteran died:

  • As a result of a service-connected disability (a disability related to service), or
  • While getting VA care, either at a VA facility or at a facility contracted by VA, or
  • While traveling with proper authorization, and at VA expense, either to or from a facility for an examination, or to receive treatment or care, or
  • With an original or reopened claim for VA compensation or pension pending at the time of death, if they would’ve been entitled to benefits before the time of death, or
  • While receiving VA pension or compensation, or
  • While eligible for VA pension or compensation at time of death, but instead received full military retirement or disability pay

Or the Veteran:

  • Had been getting a VA pension or compensation when they died, or
  • Had chosen to get military retired pay instead of compensation

Note: We’ll also provide an allowance for the cost of transporting a Veteran’s remains for burial in a national cemetery.

You can’t get burial allowances for certain individuals

We don’t provide burial allowances if the individual died:

  • On active duty, or
  • While serving as a member of Congress, or
  • While serving a federal prison sentence

Is there a time limit for filing?

You must file a claim for a non-service-connected burial allowance within 2 years after the Veteran’s burial or cremation. If a Veteran’s discharge was changed after death from dishonorable to another status, you must file for an allowance claim within 2 years after the discharge update.

There’s no time limit to file for a service-connected burial, plot, or interment allowance.

What kind of burial benefits can I get?

For burial in a national cemetery, you’ll receive an allowance for:

  • Burial and funeral costs
  • The plot (gravesite) or interment
  • Transporting the Veteran’s remains for burial

Note: The Veteran’s family will need to cover the cost of funeral director services, like cremation.

What documents do I need to send with my application?

You’ll need to send copies of these documents:

  • The Veteran’s military discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents)
  • The Veteran’s death certificate
  • Any documents or receipts you have for the cost of transporting the Veteran’s remains
  • A statement of account (preferably with the letterhead of the funeral director or cemetery owner) that has this information:
    • The Veteran’s name, and
    • The type of service or item purchased, and
    • Any credits, and
    • The unpaid balance

As a surviving spouse, do I need to file a claim for burial costs?

No, you don’t need to file a claim as a surviving spouse, as long as you’re listed as the Veteran’s spouse on the Veteran’s profile. When we receive notice of the Veteran’s death, we automatically pay a set amount to those eligible surviving spouses to help pay for the plot, the cost of interment, or transportation of the remains to the cemetery.

Checking your application status.

You can also apply:

By mail
Apply by mail using an Application for Burial Benefits (VA Form 21P-530).
Download VA Form 21P-530 (PDF)

Mail the application and other documents listed above to your nearest VA regional benefit office.
Find your nearest VA regional benefit office

If you have questions, call 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. Our TTY number for people with hearing impairments is 711. Or call your VA regional benefit office.


Burial allowance amounts

What are the burial allowance amounts for a service-connected death?

Status Maximum burial allowance
If the Veteran died on or after September 11, 2001 $2,000
If the Veteran died before September 11, 2001 $1,500
If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery We may pay you back for some or all of the costs of moving the Veteran’s remains

What are the burial allowance amounts for a non-service-connected death?

Status Maximum burial allowance
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2018 We’ll pay a $300 burial allowance and $780 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2017, but before October 1, 2018 We’ll pay a $300 burial allowance and $762 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2016, but before October 1, 2017 We’ll pay a $300 burial allowance and $749 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, but before October 1, 2016 We’ll pay a $300 burial allowance and $747 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, but before October 1, 2015 We’ll pay a $300 burial allowance and $745 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2013, but before October 1, 2014 We’ll pay a $300 burial allowance and $734 for a plot

What are the burial allowance amounts for a non-service-connected death if the Veteran was hospitalized by VA at the time of their death?

Status Maximum burial allowance
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2019 We’ll pay a $796 burial allowance and $796 for a plot
If the Veteran died on after October 1, 2017, but before October 1, 2019 We’ll pay a $762 burial allowance and $762 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2018 We’ll pay a $780 burial allowance and $780 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2017, but before October 1, 2018 We’ll pay a $762 burial allowance and $762 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2016, but before October 1, 2017 We’ll pay a $749 burial allowance and $749 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, but before October 1, 2016 We’ll pay a $747 burial allowance and $747 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, but before October 1, 2015 We’ll pay a $745 burial allowance and $745 for a plot
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2013, but before October 1, 2014 We’ll pay a $734 burial allowance and $734 for a plot

We may also pay you back for some or all of the costs of moving the Veteran’s remains if they:

  • Were hospitalized or in a VA-contracted nursing home at the time of death, or
  • Died while traveling to VA-authorized care

Note: If a Veteran’s remains aren’t claimed, we’ll pay the person or organization responsible for the Veteran’s burial a $300 burial allowance. If the deceased qualifies, we may pay you back for the costs of moving the Veteran’s remains to a VA national cemetery.

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