What Are VA Death and Burial Benefits?
Mesothelioma VA burial benefits help family members like dependent children or spouses honor their loved one’s memory.
Mesothelioma VA burial benefits include:
- Burial in a veterans cemetery
- Financial reimbursement through a burial allowance
- Headstones or medallions
- Grief counseling
- Memorial items
If a U.S. veteran with mesothelioma passes away, their family members can use these VA benefits to make sure they are buried with honor and to offset funeral costs.
Mesothelioma Hope stands ready to help military families access the benefits they need to honor their loved one. Get our Free Veterans Compensation Guide to see all the ways we can support you.
Types of Mesothelioma VA Burial Benefits
Veterans can qualify for several types of mesothelioma VA burial benefits. Learn about the most notable benefits below.
Burial at a National Cemetery
U.S. veterans often qualify for burial in a national cemetery. National cemeteries are exclusive to veterans and their close loved ones (such as spouses) and are managed by the VA.
To qualify for burial in a national cemetery, the veteran must have died during active duty service (including training) and must not have been dishonorably discharged.
Financial Veterans Burial Allowance
The VA burial allowance can help pay for the burial itself along with funeral service arrangements and the costs of moving a veteran’s remains to the gravesite.
The VA awards up to $2,000 if the veteran died from a service-connected condition like mesothelioma, or if they died on or after September 11, 2001.
A smaller burial allowance may be paid out if the above requirements aren’t met. For example, the VA pays up to $948 for a plot and an additional $948 for the burial of veterans who died on or after October 1, 2023, from causes not related to their service in the armed forces.
Next of kin can still receive this mesothelioma VA burial benefit if the veteran is buried at sea, is cremated, or donates their body to medical research.
Eligibility for VA Burial Allowance
Anyone with control over the deceased veteran’s estate can file for a burial allowance as long as they haven’t already been reimbursed by another agency (like the veteran’s employer). Further, the veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged.
One of the following must also be true for the veteran:
- They died due to a service-connected disability.
- They died while getting care from the VA or while traveling to get VA care.
- They were receiving VA compensation, pension benefits, military retirement pay, or disability pay (or had an open claim and were eligible) when they died.
Our team of fellow veterans can help you access mesothelioma VA burial benefits right now. Contact us now to start the process.
The VA provides either a headstone, niche cover, or marker for a veteran’s grave.
- Headstones are made of marble or limestone and stand upright.
- Markers are nestled into the ground and are either marble, granite, or bronze.
- Niche covers are made of bronze and are similar to markers, but smaller in size.
A veteran’s family members can customize an inscription or put a religious symbol on the VA headstone when making funeral arrangements. Further, if a veteran’s grave already has a privately bought headstone, it can be updated with one supplied by the VA.
Fill out VA Form 40-1330 to get a headstone, marker, or cover. This mesothelioma VA burial benefit can be accessed whether the veteran is buried in a private cemetery or a military cemetery.
Veterans Memorial Items
In addition to headstones, loved ones can receive other memorial items to honor a veteran’s memory.
VA memorial items include:
- Emblems of Belief: These symbols can be affixed to a veteran’s grave or marker to note their religious affiliation. The VA currently offers 98 different symbols, but family members can request custom symbols if desired.
- Flags: Family members can get a flag to display on their loved one’s urn or casket by filling out VA Form 27-2008 and submitting it to a VA office, funeral home, or post office.
- Medallions: Families can request a medallion to put on the veteran’s grave if they are buried in a private cemetery.
- Presidential Memorial Certificates (PMCs): PMCs are available for veterans buried in a military cemetery and are signed by the current president.
Learn more about top VA burial benefits and how to access them in our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.
U.S. veterans can receive special honors during their funeral service, such as a color guard, a performance of the bugle call “taps,” and a rifle volley. They are available if a veteran was buried in a private or national cemetery but must be arranged prior to the funeral.
Support for Family Members
Losing a loved one who bravely served their country can devastate family members. Thankfully, the VA offers support programs to help next of kin navigate life after loss.
For example, the VA’s Make a Connection program helps veterans and their family members find local mental health services. Chaplains can also help families cope with the loss of a veteran and can attend the funeral service if desired.
Pre-Applying for Mesothelioma VA Burial Benefits
Planning a funeral can be stressful, but mesothelioma patients who served their country can make the process easier for their families while they’re still living.
Using the VA’s pre-need determination of eligibility application, veterans can learn if they can be buried in a national cemetery. Follow these steps to start the process.
1. Check Mesothelioma VA Burial Benefits Eligibility
U.S. veterans who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge may qualify to pre-apply for burial in a national cemetery. The spouse or unmarried child of a veteran might also qualify for a national cemetery burial.
2. Select a VA National Cemetery for Burial
In this step, the veteran chooses a VA national cemetery for their resting place. The VA can’t guarantee burial in the cemetery chosen, but will do its best to honor the request.
Additionally, certain cemeteries (such as Arlington National Cemetery and state-run cemeteries) have their own application process and eligibility rules. Veterans and family can reach out to the specific cemetery they are interested in to learn more.
3. Collect Supporting Documentation
Several pieces of evidence and documents are needed to pre-apply for VA burial services.
For veterans, this documentation includes:
- Date and location of birth
- Military service and discharge documents
- Social Security number
Surviving spouses and children applying for mesothelioma VA burial benefits must provide their birthday and Social Security number.
Additional documents may need to be filled out if a loved one is applying on behalf of a veteran or a disabled, adult child who isn’t married.
4. Fill Out and Submit the Application
Last but not least, fill out the pre-need VA application (form 40-10007). A veteran’s spouse will need to fill out a separate application if they’re applying. File online at VA.gov, by mail, or by fax.
Loved ones must follow these steps if filing on behalf of a veteran:
- Note that they’re applying on the veteran’s behalf on the application
- Explain why the veteran can’t apply themselves
- Provide records showing how the person filing is related to the veteran
How to Plan a Veteran’s Burial
Planning a loved one’s burial can be challenging, especially if they passed away from a serious illness like mesothelioma. Here are some ways to make the funeral process easier.
1. Provide Information and Military Records
When applying for mesothelioma VA burial benefits, family members will need to provide information about themselves and the veteran who passed away.
The following information is required for VA veteran burial benefits:
- The veteran’s name, gender, Social Security number, and birthday
- If the veteran was married or not
- When and where the veteran died (date, state, county, and ZIP code)
- The name, address, Social Security number, and phone number of the person applying
Other documents must also be provided so the VA can determine if the veteran can be buried in a national VA cemetery. These records may include form DD214 (the veteran’s discharge report), medical records (like a death certificate), and records showing how the person applying related to the veteran.
Remember, veterans could also pre-apply for burial in a national VA cemetery while they are still living.
2. Create a Burial Plan
During this step, applicants share details of the veteran’s burial with the VA.
When creating a VA burial plan, an applicant determines:
- The type of funeral (burial or cremation)
- How big the casket or urn should be
- Where the veteran will be buried
- Which memorial items will be ordered (headstone, marker, niche cover, medallion)
- Additional funeral honors (flag for coffin/urn, PMC)
3. Schedule the Veteran’s Burial
To schedule a military funeral service, an applicant or a funeral director must send a veteran’s discharge papers to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office via email or fax.
After submitting the discharge paperwork, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office to confirm the receipt of the documents and to determine the best day to hold the funeral. National cemeteries hold funerals during the weekdays.
If family members are interested in holding a burial at sea for a U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard veteran, contact the VA for more information.
Further, if a funeral must be rescheduled or canceled, reach out to the national VA cemetery that was to hold it. The cemetery staff can help to accommodate the change in plans.
Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide now to get help accessing mesothelioma VA burial benefits and other top resources.
What to Expect at a Veteran’s Funeral Service
After arriving at the veteran’s funeral, a cemetery representative will take everyone to a committal shelter. There, a 20-minute service will occur to honor the veteran.
During the committal service, loved ones, friends, and/or clergy may give eulogies and present flowers, and military funerals will occur. After the service, the veteran is buried. It’s common to have a reception following the burial.
The VA publishes information about committal services on its website with the approval of next of kin, allowing easy access for all who wish to attend.
If someone is unable to attend a committal service but wishes to pay their respects, the VA recommends visiting the grave at the end of the day instead of directly after the committal.
Other Compensation Options for Veterans’ Family Members
Mesothelioma VA burial benefits allow next of kin to access financial reimbursement for many expenses related to a veteran’s death. That said, burial benefits don’t cover the out-of-pocket costs that come with mesothelioma treatments.
Fortunately, a mesothelioma veteran’s family members can access other forms of financial compensation to cover any lingering expenses.
Other financial options for veterans’ loved ones include:
- VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC): This benefit offers tax-free monetary benefits for surviving loved ones of service members who died during active duty or from service-related illnesses or injuries.
- VA Survivors Pension: This benefit provides monthly payments to surviving family members of wartime veterans who meet certain net worth and income limits.
- Legal Claims: Family members can file claims with the help of mesothelioma lawyers to get financial aid from private companies if a veteran died from this cancer.
- Asbestos Trust Fund Claims: Asbestos trust funds award compensation to those with mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related illnesses. Families can file trust fund claims on behalf of a veteran.
Call (866) 608-8933 to learn how we can help you apply for mesothelioma VA burial benefits and other key resources after a veteran’s death.
Find Help and Support for Veteran End-of-Life Planning
Mesothelioma VA burial benefits can cover many of the expenses related to a military veteran’s funeral and allow families to honor their loved one’s service and sacrifice.
Our team includes fellow veterans, VA-accredited attorneys, and Patient Advocates who work tirelessly to assist families like yours. We can help you access veterans benefits, compensation, and support resources to start the healing process.
Download your Free Veterans Compensation Guide to get help filing for mesothelioma VA burial benefits if a veteran you love passed away from this cancer.
Mesothelioma VA Burial Benefits FAQs
Can you claim for mesothelioma after death?
Yes, you can access VA burial benefits after a veteran’s death. The VA may provide reimbursement for some or all burial expenses through a veterans burial allowance. The coverage varies depending on when and how the veteran died.
Loved ones may qualify for a higher payout if your loved one’s mesothelioma diagnosis and death stemmed from using military asbestos products.
U.S. veterans are at a high risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases due to the widespread use of asbestos by all branches of the military.
How much does the VA pay for burial benefits?
The VA pays up to $2,000 to bury veterans who passed away from service-related health problems on or after September 11, 2001.
If the veteran dies from a health problem not related to military service, the VA pays a fixed amount depending on the date of the death. For veterans who died on or after October 1, 2023, their family members receive $1,896 total for burial costs and a grave plot.
Mesothelioma is considered a service-related condition if the veteran was exposed to asbestos while serving. In these cases, the veteran’s family will receive the full $2,000 payout.
Who qualifies for VA burial benefits?
Family members and anyone with legal authority over a veteran’s estate typically qualify for mesothelioma VA burial benefits. Eligible veterans can also pre-apply for burial benefits to help plan their funeral before their death if they so desire.
Many burial benefits have a unique set of criteria, so which of them you can access could vary. Call (866) 608-8933 to learn which mesothelioma VA burial benefits you can receive.
What is the maximum VA burial allowance?
The maximum burial allowance is $2,000 for veterans who died from service-related health problems on or after September 11, 2001.
Slightly lower compensation is available through mesothelioma VA burial benefits if a veteran died before that date or due to a condition not related to their U.S. military service.
Contact our team now to get help filing a VA claim and receiving a burial allowance.
Does the VA pay for coffins?
No, the VA doesn’t directly pay for coffins, but families can purchase one using a VA burial allowance.
If the veteran wished to be cremated, the VA cannot cremate the body but will pay loved ones back for the costs.
The VA does provide a grave liner. This is a material that goes around the coffin or urn when it’s placed in the ground. Family members can also purchase their own grave liner and get reimbursed through mesothelioma VA burial benefits.