“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” This quote is credited to Abraham Lincoln. In life and in death, we hold America’s veterans in the highest regard. This is why we continually learn about veterans funeral benefits in an effort to share that knowledge with the community at large.
The Veterans Death Benefits page on our website is an updated source of information for the families of those men and women who valiantly served and protected our country. Important points include:
- The Cremation Society of New Hampshire will notify the Veterans administration at the time of death.
- VA funeral benefits for veterans depend on the circumstances surrounding the place of death and which benefits the veteran will receive or will be entitled to receive.
- The Cremation Society counselors handle all the necessary details for veterans’ crematory arrangements, including:
- Providing necessary forms to the family to apply for monetary benefits from the Veterans Administration
- Scheduling and arranging military honors
- Coordinating with federal and state VA cemeteries
- Obtaining a flag for the service
- Ordering the veteran’s cemetery marker
The Cremation Society also offers a dignified and affordable cremation service option for veterans.
There is pending legislation to expand veterans funeral benefits via the Burial Rights for America’s Veterans’ Efforts (BRAVE) Act of 2019 (H.R. 497/S. 598), which was introduced to Congress in 2019. The latest update from February 2020 was assuming first sponsorship of the act, with no objections. If passed, the BRAVE Act would improve existing death benefits for veterans who meet certain eligibility requirements.
The bill would ensure that non-service connected deaths are treated equally, regardless of where a veteran dies. It would also require that death benefits are indexed for inflation, alleviating the need for further adjustments from Congress.
The Cremation Society of New Hampshire and The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) support the passing of the legislation, which would ensure veterans are not penalized due to their circumstance at the time of death or where they die.
“Passing the BRAVE Act will allow for our military heroes to be provided with a funeral service that befits their sacrifices,” said Buddy Phaneuf, President of the Cremation Society of New Hampshire.
Here is a look at current veteran funeral benefits (including those not part of the BRAVE Act) and the proposed benefits from the BRAVE Act:
- Active Duty or Service Connected Death
- $2,000 is currently available if the veteran died during active duty; or an honorably-discharged veteran died of a service-connected injury.
- The BRAVE Act will index the benefit for inflation.
- Non-Service-Connected Death in VA facility
- A $780 funeral benefit is currently available for a non-service-connected death in a VA facility.There will be no change to this benefit with the BRAVE Act, as it is already indexed for inflation.
- Non-Service-Connected Death not in a VA Facility
- $300 is currently available as a funeral benefit for non-service-connected death not in a VA facility or when the veteran has no next-of-kin.The BRAVE Act will increase the benefit to $780 (equal to a non-service-connected death in a VA facility) and index it for inflation.
The BRAVE Act is also endorsed by:
- The Department of Veterans Affairs
- The American Legion
- The Veterans of Foreign Wars
- The Military Officers Association of America
- The Vietnam Veterans of America
- The Association of the United States Navy
- The Disabled American Veterans
We’ll follow the progress of the veterans funeral benefits act and update this post with new information as available.