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Veterans Benefits

Veterans Benefits

We're proud to do our part in honoring our country's veterans. Our duty is to provide you and your family with professional and dignified assistance during your time of need, and we promise to support you in honoring your loved one for their dedication and selfless service.

Eligibility

To be eligible you must be a veteran discharged or separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable, and have completed the required period of service.  Military funeral honors are free of charge and mandated by law for eligible veterans. The veteran’s DD-214, or discharge papers will verify eligibility. All eligible members include:

  • Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.
  • Former military members who served on active duty and departed under honorable conditions.
  • Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under honorable conditions.
  • Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

Traditional Honors

At minimum, eligible veterans are entitled to the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps by a bugler or recording. These honors are performed by an honor guard detail that consists of at least two members of the Armed Forces. One member must be a representative from the branch in which the veteran served, and this member will be the individual who presents the flag.

Honors also can include:

  • A three-volley rifle salute to represent duty, honor, and country
  • The U.S. flag draped over the casket
  • A final salute at the gravesite

Veteran Benefits

In addition to coordinating honors related to the service itself, we can help you communicate with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to arrange for:

  • A Presidential Memorial Certificate: This is a certificate expressing the nation's recognition of the veteran's service. The veteran's name is inscribed, and the certificate bears the signature of the President. Certificates are issued in the name of honorably discharged, deceased veterans. Eligible recipients include next of kin, other relatives and friends. The award of a certificate to one eligible recipient does not preclude certificates to other eligible recipients. The veteran may have died at any time in the past. The local VA regional office generally originates the application for a Presidential Memorial Certificate. The next of kin also may request a certificate.

  • Headstones or Markers: The VA provides headstones and markers for the graves of veterans anywhere in the world and for eligible dependents of veterans buried in national, state, or military cemeteries. Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble, upright granite and upright marble types are available to mark the grave in a style consistent with the place of burial. Niche markers also are available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains. Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, the years of birth and death, and branch of service. Optional items that also may be inscribed at VA expense are: military grade, rank or rate; war service such as World War II; months and days of birth and death; an emblem reflecting one's beliefs; valor awards; and the Purple Heart.

  • Memorial Plots: If an eligible veteran's remains are not available for burial, the VA will provide a plot and headstone or marker in a national cemetery for memorialization. If you wish to place the memorial in a cemetery other than a national cemetery, the VA will provide the headstone or marker but not the plot itself. The headstone or marker is available to memorialize eligible veterans or deceased active-duty members whose remains were not recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and scattered.

  • Burial in a VA National Cemetery: This includes the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, a grave box, and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbaria for the inurnment of cremated remains or special gravesites for the burial of cremated remains. Spouses and minor children of eligible veterans and of armed forces members also may be buried in a national cemetery. Gravesites cannot be reserved ahead of time, only at the time of death.

  • Reimbursement of Burial Expenses: VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the veteran's death is service connected. VA also will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a service-disabled veteran to the national cemetery nearest the home of a deceased that has available gravesites. In such cases, the person who bore the veteran's burial expenses may claim reimbursement from VA. VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral expense allowance for veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled to compensation but for receipt of military retirement pay. Eligibility also is established when death occurs in a VA facility or a nursing home with which VA contracted. Additional costs of transportation of the remains may be reimbursed. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims of service-connected deaths. In other deaths, claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation. For more information on eligibility and the different levels of potential reimbursement, please review the Guide to VA Burial Allowances.

How to Apply for Benefits

Veterans benefits are not paid automatically. It is your responsibility to contact the Veterans Administration. Please visit the following link for detailed information about the options available for honoring service members and other aspects of military funerals.

Bruce C. Van Arsdale Funeral Home
111 North Gaston Avenue, Somerville, NJ 08876
Phone: (908) 725-3111
Fax: (908) 725-9945


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