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What are veteran burial benefits?

If you are a veteran, you might have rights to burial benefits. Those benefits can help reduce the cost of funeral and burial arrangements for your family, and you'll want to know about them so you can include them in any estate or funeral planning you do.

The benefits do depend in part on your type and length of service, but many veterans qualify for covered burial in one of the national cemeteries. There are 134 such cemeteries across the nation. In addition to the opening and closing of the grave following a funeral and graveside service, the benefits include a marker, a flag for burial and perpetual care for the gravesite. Your family also receives a memorial certificate.

The burial benefits apply whether your remains are whole or cremated. Your spouse and children might also be able to take advantage of burial benefits for themselves. All burial benefits do rely on space in the cemetery, but where space is available, your spouse or dependents can plan to be interred alongside you at the appropriate time.

Depending on eligibility, there are other benefits that might be appropriate. Some veterans are eligible for extra allowances for burial or funerals. The National Cemetery Administration does note that families should plan carefully when making arrangements. Services or products received from private funeral homes for the purpose of a service or burial are typically not covered under these benefits, which means they will be at the expense of the estate or family.

Understanding all of your veteran's benefits helps you to make the most economical plans for the future. Having served your country, you should now work with someone to ensure you understand how to use all of the benefits afforded to you.

Source: National Cemetery Administration, "Burial Benefits," accessed Feb. 26, 2016

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