United States Department of Veteran Affairs
Veterans' benefits can be difficult to understand. Hamel-Lydon Chapel will help explain to you what you or your loved one are entitled to. We are here to make sure your loved one receives all the benefits they earned and deserve for serving our country. Here is a list of frequently asked questions and answers to help you along the way.
1. Does the VA benefits cover all funeral or cremation arrangements for honorably discharged veterans?
No. Funeral and cremation service reimbursement is limited and applies to veterans who meet certain criteria, i.e., retired from Armed Services, disabled due to service related injury, died in a VA hospital, etc. Hamel-Lydon Chapel will help you receive all you are entitled to. There are certain monetary, recognition and service benefits that may be available.
2. Do I need proof of military service?
Yes, you will need the proper documents to verify service. Discharge papers (DD214) are required to verify service. If you do not have them we may be able to assist in obtaining them for you.
3. Will we automatically receive a US Flag?
Please request a flag and Hamel-Lydon Chapel will obtain a flag for you at no cost.
4. Are veterans' caskets provided free of charge?
No, unless death occurs while on active duty. Hamel-Lydon Chapel does have a complete line of quality caskets at reasonable and competitive prices. Our Veterans Funeral and Cremation plans build even more value for veterans and their families in order to honor their dedicated and courageous service to our country.
5. How much time in advance should Military Funeral Honors ceremonies be scheduled?
It is a law that eligible veterans receive a military funeral honors ceremony, including the folding and presentation of the US Flag and the playing of Taps, if requested by family. Because arranging the ceremony takes extra time, arrangements must be done quickly. Hamel-Lydon Chapel will help to handle this in a timely manner.
6. How is a veteran eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery?
Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies while on active duty or any veteran who was honorably discharged is entitled to burial in a VA national cemetery and it includes an assigned grave, opening and closing of the grave, a grave liner for caskets, a headstone or marker, with no perpetual care costs to family. Cremated remains in VA national cemeteries are handled in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
7. Are monetary benefits available if loved one is not buried in a VA national cemetery?
Monetary burial benefits are limited if your loved one is buried in a private cemetery, though the veteran may be eligible to receive some reimbursement for burial costs. Burial expense allowance up to $700 and plot allowance up to $700 may be given in the case of non-service related deaths. To determine the reimbursement, an application for burial benefits (VA Form 21-530) must be submitted within 2 years from the date of burial.
8. Are headstones or markers automatically provided for a private burial in a private cemetery?
No. Headstones and markers must be requested to the VA and are provided for any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery free of charge. An application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker for Installation in a Private or State Veterans Cemetery (VA Form 40-1330) must be submitted.
9. How can we obtain a Presidential Memorial Certificate for our loved one?
A Presidential Memorial Certificate, an engraved paper certificate signed by the current President to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans, must be requested at any VA regional office in person or by US Mail.
10. How might we obtain issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations?
The issuance or replacement of military medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing to the appropriate service branch division of the National Personnel Records Center with a SF 180 form available through the VA. There is no charge for medal and award replacements.