Program Description

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) burial allowance is a monetary benefit that can help to pay for an eligible Veteran's burial and funeral costs. VA may grant additional benefits for plot, interment, or transportation allowances.

To learn more, visit the Veterans Benefits Administration website and read the Burial and Plot Interment Allowance (PDF, 141 KB) fact sheet.

General Program Requirements

VA automatically pays a burial benefit to the eligible surviving spouse of record upon report of a Veteran’s death. If no surviving spouse is of record, VA will pay the first living person from the list below to file a claim:

  • Veteran's surviving spouse, OR
  • Survivor of a legal union with the Veteran, OR
  • Veteran's children, regardless of age, OR
  • Veteran's parents or surviving parent, OR
  • Executor or administrator of the Veteran’s estate, OR
  • A person acting for the Veteran’s estate.

To qualify for benefits, a Veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorably and must meet at least one of the conditions below:

  • They died as a result of a service-related disability, OR
  • They were receiving or entitled to receive VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
  • They died while admitted in a VA medical facility or while receiving care under a VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR  
  • They died while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home, OR
  • They had a claim pending prior to their date of death and would have been entitled to VA compensation or pension from a date prior to the date of death, OR
  • They died while traveling to or from a specified place for examination, treatment, or care, under proper authorization and at VA expense.

These requirements do not apply for Veterans whose remains are unclaimed.

National Guard and Reserve members who serve in active-duty military service (other than for training) may qualify.

Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) may qualify as active duty members and Veterans once discharged.

Application Process

Visit the Apply for burial benefits page to learn more and apply online. You may also download and submit an Application for Burial Benefits (VA Form 21P-530, PDF, 933 KB). Mail or fax your application to your state’s VA regional office. You can look up their address on our Find Locations page.

Last Updated: 05/29/2019