If you are a veteran’s family member, you likely struggled while your loved one served our country. From sleepless nights worrying to raising children while your veteran was away to moving frequently and missing your friends and family back home, you’ve been through tough times. In addition, veterans give their daily life in service to our country. Veterans often suffer, even after discharge, with chronic post-traumatic chronic stress disorders or other health issues or disfigurement related to battle trauma. When it comes time to plan a veteran funeral, you may hope for and wonder if military funerals are free.
Whether at a national, state, or private cemetery, the Veteran Administration covers some expenses or provides items necessary to remember a veteran well. The VA covers your veteran burial from a grave space and memorial markers to burial flags and taps. Learn what is covered, when there is no coverage, and how to apply and check eligibility.
Private Cemetery Death Benefits
When a national VA cemetery accepts you for burial, they cover many services for the veteran. The VA will not pay for the funeral, but they will cover cemetery costs. Even if you decide on a private cemetery, you can apply for many benefits and programs covering some funeral costs. These benefits may cover cremation or traditional burial. You may receive benefits as a family member or veteran, depending on the veteran’s qualifications.
Benefits for honorably discharged veteran’s families include:
- Death Benefit (Burial Allowance): For eligibility, the veteran must have received a VA pension or disability compensation when they were alive. The burial allowance can pay for cremation and burial or traditional burial, funeral, and transportation costs.
- Military Funeral Honors: Almost all Veterans are eligible for military honors
- Memorial Items:
- Headstones, markers, and medallions
- American Burial flag
- Presidential Memorial Certificate
National Cemetery Burial
Most veterans consider it an honor to serve their country and may also wish the honor of burial in a national cemetery. Veterans who served in the armed forces and their spouses and minor children may choose burial in a national cemetery along with those who died while on active duty.
VA National Cemetery Family Member Burial Eligibility:
- Veterans of the armed forces
- Service members who died while on active duty
- A veteran’s spouse
- A veteran’s minor child
Whether you choose cremation or traditional burial, there is a burial place for you or your family in national cemeteries. “Cremated remains are buried or interred in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.” (1)
If your veteran loved one just passed away, and you need to schedule a burial, start the process at National Cemetery Scheduling. You can also see the location of all of the available National Cemeteries and think about arrangements according to sites.
North Carolina National Cemeteries include:
- New Bern National Cemetery 1711 National Avenue (FULL AND NO LONGER ACCEPTING NEW BURIALS)
- Raleigh National Cemetery 501 Rock Quarry Road (FULL AND NO LONGER ACCEPTING NEW BURIALS)
- Salisbury National Cemetery 501 Statesville Boulevard
- Wilmington National Cemetery 2011 Market Street (FULL AND NO LONGER ACCEPTING NEW BURIALS)
Planning Your Own National Cemetery Burial
If you are a veteran planning for yourself, you can learn about your eligibility today and start making a plan so that your family doesn’t have to wonder about your wishes. If you qualify for burial, the VA will send you a pre-need decision letter confirming your eligibility.
Planning ahead allows your family to handle your arrangements with confidence and spend less time on the details. Knowing how to manage your arrangements makes the grieving process easier for family members.
Arlington National Cemetery
If you or a family member want an Arlington National Cemetery burial, the application process is more stringent than other national cemeteries. Eligibility extends only to veterans who are:
- Active duty
- Military retirees
- Former prisoners of war
- Recipients of the Purple Heart or other high honors and awards
If your veteran family member meets these requirements or if you are a veteran planning for your own interment, you can schedule a burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
North Carolina Cemetery Benefits
In North Carolina, the state funds VA cemeteries with help from federal grants in some cases. Each state cemetery has its own requirements that may differ from national eligibility requirements. You may contact an individual cemetery to find out more about eligibility and what they may include in their arrangements. North Carolina veteran cemeteries require residency in the state for a minimum of 10 years for eligibility. These cemeteries include:
- Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetery Albemarle Building, Suite 1065, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27699
- Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetery 110 Montford Point Road, Jacksonville, NC 28541
- Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery 164 Longs Plant Farm Road, Goldsboro, NC 27534
- Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery 400 Murchison Rd., Spring Lake, NC 28390
- Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery 962 Old US 70 Highway, Black Mountain, NC 28711
We Can Help
Whether you are a veteran planning your arrangements or a family member making a plan for a recently deceased loved one, you can quickly check eligibility requirements, and the VA or other benefits will likely cover all of your associated expenses. If you need help deciding where or how to make arrangements, at Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we come alongside you in all of the necessary decisions. We help you make all arrangements so that you can focus on family and grieve your loss. While extending the utmost respect for veterans and the families of veterans, we hope to assist you in any way you need. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.
PLEASE VISIT US AT Veteran Funeral Services | Honor Guard | Flag | Raleigh, NC (rfhr.com) For more information on Veteran Benefits