The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) burial allowance is a monetary benefit that is generally paid at the maximum amount authorized by law for an eligible Veteran's burial and funeral costs. VA may grant additional benefits for plot, interment, and/or transportation expenses.
General Program Requirements
VA automatically pays a burial benefit to the eligible surviving spouse of record. If no surviving spouse of record, VA will pay the first living person to file a claim of those listed below:
- Veteran's surviving spouse; OR
- The survivor of a legal union* between the deceased Veteran and the survivor; OR
- Veteran's child(ren); OR
- Veteran's parents or surviving parent; OR
- Executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased Veteran. If no executor or administrator has been appointed, VA may pay burial benefits based on a claim filed by a person acting for such estate who will distribute the burial benefits to the person or persons entitled to such distribution under the laws of the Veteran's last State of residence.
*Legal union means a formal relationship between the decedent and the survivor that existed on the date of the Veteran's death, which was recognized under the law of the State in which the couple formalized the relationship and evidenced by the State's issuance of documentation memorializing the relationship.
Other individuals and entities, such as funeral homes, are eligible claimants only if the Veterans remains are unclaimed.
Generally, to be eligible for burial benefits, at least one of the following additional eligibility criteria must be met:
- The Veteran died as a result of a service related disability, OR
- The Veteran was receiving or entitled to receive VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
- The Veteran died while hospitalized in a VA medical facility, or while receiving care under a VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
- The Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment or care, OR
- The Veteran had an original or re-opened claim pending at the time of death and would have been entitle to VA compensation or pension from a date prior to the date of death, OR
- The Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
For more specific information, refer to the Burial factsheet.
Your Next StepsThe following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.
To complete an application, download VA Form 21P-530, "Application for Burial Benefits", and mail it to the VA Pension Management Center (PMC) having jurisdictions over the claim. If the PMC having jurisdiction over the claim is not known, the claim may be submitted to the closest VA regional office.
Program Contact Information
If you have questions:
- Visit the Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) website to search Frequently Asked Questions or ask a question on-line, or
- Call 877-294-6380
- Call 711, if you use a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD)
To apply for additional benefits and view your benefit status, open an eBenefits Premium account. eBenefits is a one-stop source for information on VA benefits and services. With a free Premium level eBenefits account, Veterans, Servicemembers and their family members can conduct self-service transactions such as checking claim status information, GI Bill enrollment, and obtaining copies of civil service preference letters, DD Form 214, and other personal information. For further information and to register for a free Premium level account, visit the eBenefits website.