Monday, June 24, 2024
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VA Burial Benefits

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “…nothing is certain except death and taxes.” While I can do little to assist with either, I do have some in­formation and advice for Veterans. VA provides benefits for deceased Veterans which include burial allowance, headstones, markers, medal­lions, burial flag, and presidential memorial cer­tificates, as well as burials in national cemeter­ies. It is never too soon to plan for the inevitable.

The first such benefit, an allowance, may help cover burial, funeral, and transportation costs. If eligible, the allowance is a reimbursement of ex­penses incurred (the services and costs must be paid before applying). I cannot forget eligibili­ty, the criteria are many including relationship to the Veteran, an above dishonorable discharge, and the Veteran in receipt of VA benefits or care. The last eligibility item ties into other articles and my recommendations for all Veterans to apply for benefits which may provide for your family after you are gone.

Headstones, markers, and medallions are available for deceased Veterans to honor their military service. You may choose from upright headstones (granite or marble), flat markers (gran­ite or marble), bronze marker (requires a base for installation), or a bronze, niche marker (requires a base for installation). The Veteran’s personal information including name, rank, branch of ser­vice, birth date, and death date are required. Op­tional information may be added provided space is available. Should the Veteran already have a privately purchased headstone, then an alterna­tive option is a bronze medallion to affix to the existing marker. The medallions come in three sizes with the word “VETERAN” and the branch of service.

Also available is a United States flag which may be used to drape over a casket or placed with an urn. The flag is often presented to a member of the Veteran’s family when Military Funeral Hon­ors are performed. A Presidential Memorial Cer­tificate is an engraved paper certificate signed by the current president. The family may order any number of the certificates and multiple requests may be submitted. All memorial items are pro­vided free of charge. Please be sure to check your selected cemetery’s regulations prior to ordering a headstone or marker.

Do not hesitate to contact your CVSO for more information regarding burial benefits. “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now” – Alan Lakein or “Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small” – Sun Tzu.

Brad Anderson is the Lake County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.834.8326, or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen. christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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