Your Complete Guide to VA Benefits for Long-Term Care

What are VA benefits for long-term care?

Senior care can be costly, but for U.S. military veterans and their surviving spouses, certain veterans benefits may be available to help offset long-term care costs. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, offers benefits for those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits, which provide financial assistance for long-term care.

Illustration of caregiver aiding a veteran in a wheelchair. Subtle patriotic background.

Yet, when it’s time for senior care, many families aren’t aware veterans and surviving spouses of veterans may be eligible for financial assistance, or they may not know how to apply for benefits that can help pay for senior care. This complete guide to VA benefits for long-term care covers who qualifies for benefits, the types of benefits available to help pay for long-term care, and how to apply for veterans benefits.

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Who qualifies for VA benefits?

Veterans and family members looking to qualify for veterans benefits for senior care must meet different requirements depending on the type of benefit they’re seeking.

Service requirements

All VA benefits for long-term care have a service requirement. Veterans benefits for senior care are available for qualifying veterans and their surviving spouses, as long as the veteran served at least 90 days of active duty, including at least one day during wartime period. This doesn’t mean the veteran had to see actual combat. Veterans who had a desk job during qualifying periods may also be eligible for benefits.

More specifically, to qualify for VA benefits, your loved one must meet at least one of these service requirements:

  • Started on active duty before September 8, 1980, and served at least 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime, or
  • Started on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which the veteran was called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) with at least 1 day during wartime, or
  • Was an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months

The veteran must have received an honorable or general discharge to qualify for benefits. A dishonorable discharge disqualifies veterans and family members for veterans benefits.

VA’s dates for wartime

The VA considers the following wartime periods:

PeriodsDates
Mexican Border periodMay 9, 1916 – April 5, 1917
World War IApril 6, 1917 – Nov. 11, 1918
World War IIDec. 7, 1941 – Dec. 31, 1946
Korean conflictJune 27, 1950 – Jan. 31, 1955
Vietnam War Era (for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam)Feb. 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975
Vietnam War Era (for veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam)Aug. 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975
Gulf WarAug. 2, 1990 – future date to be determined by law or a presidential order

Source: https://www.va.gov/pension/eligibility/

Financial requirements

If your loved one is a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran, they must meet financial eligibility requirements to qualify for VA benefits. This means your relative’s net worth must fall below $130,773, which is the limit set by Congress until November 30, 2021. This amount may change annually.

Your loved one’s net worth includes their household income and assets:

  • Annual income includes salary or hourly pay, bonuses, commissions, tips, Social Security benefits, any retirement payments, and any income your loved one’s spouse and dependents may receive.
  • Assets include personal property, such as land, investments, and home furnishing. However, assets don’t include your loved one’s primary place of residence, their car, and basic home items like appliances they wouldn’t take with them if they moved to a new house.

For example, if the veteran’s annual household income is $14,000 and their assets add up to $121,000, their total net worth is $135,000. This means they don’t meet financial qualifications for VA benefits.

However, it’s important to know that certain expenses may be deducted from their annual income and assets when calculating their net worth. Qualifying expenses may include cost of senior care, medical expenses that are not reimbursed, Medicare premiums or Medicare supplemental premiums, products or services prescribed by your doctor, and education expenses.

For example, if the veteran’s monthly income is $5,000, but they pay $4,500 for assisted living each month, the cost of senior care is a deductible expense when determining eligibility for VA benefits. When senior care expenses ($4,500) are subtracted from your family member’s monthly income ($5,000), their countable income is $500.

What’s the three-year look-back period?

Veterans who transfer assets to someone else, such as a friend or family member, for less than the market value in the three years before applying for VA benefits may suffer a penalty. This may occur if the transferred assets would have financially disqualified the veteran for VA benefits otherwise. Veterans who suffer a three-year look-back penalty may not be eligible for benefits for up to five years.

For example, suppose your loved one’s total net worth is $115,900 at the time they submit their VA benefits application. The year before your family member applied for VA benefits, they gifted $30,000 to a close friend. If your loved one hadn’t gifted this amount, their total net worth would have been $145,900, which would have financially disqualified them for VA benefits. This means your family member may not be eligible for VA benefits during a penalty period of up to five years.

Clinical requirements

VA long-term care benefits are typically for eligible veterans 65 years of age or older, but those under the age of 65 who have a total and permanent disability may also qualify. Different benefits have specific clinical requirements. However, the highest amounts are awarded to those who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing or dressing.

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What is VA Pension?

The VA provides supplemental income to veterans and their families through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs. This tax-free benefit is paid monthly and is available to U.S. military veterans and widowed spouses of veterans who are eligible based on need.

If your loved one is a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran who qualifies for VA Pension or Survivors Pension, they may also be eligible for other VA benefits that can help pay for senior care. VA long-term care benefits are an additional monthly income that is added to the VA Pension or Survivors Pension.

It’s important to know that, in order to qualify for VA benefits for long-term care, your loved one must be receiving VA Pension or Survivors Pension. Alternatively, they may apply for VA pension benefits at the same time they apply for long-term care benefits.

Who qualifies for VA Pension?

If your family member is a veteran, they must meet the service and financial eligibility requirements to qualify for VA Pension. They must also meet at least one of these requirements:

  • Be age 65 or older
  • Have a total and permanent disability
  • Be a patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care
  • Receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income

Do spouses qualify for VA Survivors Pension?

If your family member is the spouse of a deceased veteran, they may be eligible for Survivors Pension if they meet certain requirements.

Your loved one may qualify for Survivors Pension if they are a surviving spouse who was married to a wartime veteran at the time of death, and who hasn’t remarried after the veteran’s death. In order to qualify, the deceased veteran must not have had a dishonorable discharge, and must have had at least 90 days of active duty, including at least one day during wartime period. The surviving spouse must also meet financial qualifications for Survivors Pension.

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What veterans benefits can be used to cover the cost of long-term care?

Two veterans benefits – the VA Aid and Attendance benefit and the Housebound benefit – can be used to help cover the costs of long-term care.  Veterans benefits for long-term care are an additional, monthly income that is added to the VA Pension or Survivors Pension. It’s not possible to receive Housebound benefits and Aid and Attendance benefits at the same time.

What is VA Aid and Attendance?

The VA Aid and Attendance benefit provides supplemental income for eligible veterans and surviving spouses who are receiving senior care either at home or at a senior living facility. If your loved one is unable to live independently and needs help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing or dressing, they may qualify for Aid and Attendance if they meet the eligibility requirements. Aid and Attendance pays a monthly amount that is added to the VA Pension or Survivors Pension that can help pay for senior care.

Eligible veterans and surviving spouses must already be receiving the VA Pension or Survivors Pension in order to qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits, or they may apply for Aid and Attendance benefits at the same time they apply for pension benefits.

Who’s eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits?

If your loved one is a veteran who has met the eligibility requirements for VA Pension or the surviving spouse of a veteran who qualifies for Survivors Pension, they may also be eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits if they:

  • Need a caregiver for assistance with personal care, such as bathing, dressing, or feeding, or
  • Must spend a large portion of the day in bed because of an illness, or
  • Live in a nursing home as a result of physical or mental disability, or
  • Have limited eyesight (5/200 or less in both eyes) or have a visual field of 5 degrees or fewer

What are Housebound benefits?

VA Housebound benefits are for veterans and surviving spouses who spend most of their time at home because of a permanent disability. Those who qualify for Housebound benefits are confined to their home or need the assistance of others when leaving their home for medical appointments or medically necessary treatments.

Similar to Aid and Attendance benefits, your loved one must meet eligibility requirements and be receiving VA Pension or Survivors Pension to qualify for Housebound benefits, or they may apply for Housebound benefits at the same time they apply for pension benefits. Housebound benefits provide a monthly amount to those who qualify, which is paid in addition to VA Pension or Survivors Pension amount.

Who’s eligible for Housebound benefits?

If you’ve met the eligibility requirements for VA Pension or Survivors Pension, you may also qualify for Housebound benefits if:

  • You are confined to your home because of a permanent disability
  • You only leave your home to attend doctor appointments or to receive medical treatments
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What amounts do VA benefits award?

If your loved one qualifies for VA benefits, their payment rate will be calculated based on their household income and the limit set by Congress, called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR).

Your loved one’s MAPR, or the maximum amount of pension payable, is calculated based on certain factors, including:

  • How many dependents they have
  • Whether they’re married to another veteran who qualifies for pension
  • Whether they qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits

The actual cost of senior care they pay monthly is also taken into account when determining their benefit amount, but it may be helpful to know the maximum annual benefits allowed.

Pension rates for veterans

VA Pension for VeteransMAPRMonthly Rate
Veteran, no dependents$13,931$1,161
Veteran plus spouse or one dependent$18,243$1,521
Two veterans married to each other$18,243$1,521
VA Pension for Veterans Plus Aid and AttendanceMAPRMonthly Rate
Veteran, no dependents$23,238$1,936
Veteran plus spouse or one dependent$27,549$2,295
Two veterans married to each other; both qualify for Aid & Attendance$36,861$3,071
VA Pension for Veterans Plus Housebound BenefitsMAPRMonthly Rate
Veteran, no dependents$17,024$1,419
Veteran plus spouse or one dependent$21,337$1,779
Two veterans married to each other; both qualify for Housebound benefits$24,428$2,036

Source: https://www.va.gov/pension/veterans-pension-rates/

For each additional dependent, add an annual benefit of $2,382 with a monthly rate of $199 to your loved one’s MAPR amount.

Pension rates for spouses

Surviving Spouse RatesMAPRMonthly Rate
Widowed spouse, no dependents$9,344$779
Widowed spouse plus one dependent$12,229$1,019
VA Pension for Surviving Spouse Plus Aid and AttendanceMAPRMonthly Rate
Widowed spouse, no dependents$14,934$1,244
Widowed spouse plus one dependent17,8151,485
VA Pension for Surviving Spouse Plus Housebound BenefitsMAPRMonthly Rate
Widowed spouse, no dependents$11,420$952
Widowed spouse plus one dependent14,3001,192

Source: https://www.va.gov/pension/survivors-pension-rates/

For each additional dependent, add an annual benefit of $2,382 with a monthly rate of $199 to your love one’s MAPR amount.

How are VA benefits for senior care paid?

VA benefits are deposited directly to the bank account of the veteran or surviving spouse each month. If your loved one doesn’t have a bank account but wishes to receive their payment through direct deposit, there are veteran-friendly banks and credit unions that can help them qualify for an account or get one set up.

Beneficiaries who don’t have a bank account and don’t wish to use direct deposit must receive payment through a Direct Express Debit Mastercard.

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What types of senior care do VA long-term care benefits cover?

VA Aid and Attendance may be used to offset care costs as long as assistance with daily activities is provided by another person. This means veterans and widowed spouses in senior living facilities may receive financial assistance to pay for assisted living, memory care, home care, or nursing home care.

Both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits may also be used to help pay for personal care provided by a non-licensed in-home caregiver, such as a friend or family member.

VA long-term care benefits at a glance: What is covered?

VA long-term care benefitAid and AttendanceHousebound benefit
Assisted living

x

Memory care

x

Nursing home

x

Home care

x

Family caregiver

x

x

Veterans benefits for assisted living

Assisted living facilities provide long-term housing and care for seniors. Older adults in assisted living are generally active, but may need help with certain activities throughout the day, such as bathing or dressing. Assisted living facilities also offer nutritious meals, housekeeping, and social activities in a senior-friendly environment.

Assisted living costs vary based on the facility location, amenities, size of apartment, and level of care needed. However, the median monthly cost of assisted living in the U.S. is about $4,000, according to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey.

If your family member is a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran who qualifies for Aid and Attendance benefits, they may receive a supplemental monthly amount to offset the cost of care at an assisted living facility, as long as care at the facility includes help with activities of daily living.

Veterans benefits for memory care

Memory care, sometimes called Alzheimer’s care, is for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. These residential facilities cater to the unique needs of seniors who have memory loss in a safe environment, designed to reduce confusion and prevent wandering.

Memory care facilities provide 24-hour specialized dementia care with a focus on improving the quality of life of residents. Many memory care communities offer person-centered dementia care combined with memory-enhancing activities and therapies, which may include occupational therapy, music therapy, and more. Services may also include prepared meals, medication management, and help with personal care.

The average cost of memory care ranges from $2,000 to $7,000 a month, but may vary based on facility location, amenities, and the level of care provided. Because many seniors who have memory loss often need assistance with activities of daily living, Aid and Attendance may be an important benefit to help those eligible pay for care.

Veterans benefits for nursing home care

Nursing home care is for seniors who are seriously ill or have a severe health condition, or for those recovering from an illness or injury after a hospital stay. Nursing homes provide 24-hour nursing and personal care for elderly adults who need a high level of nursing and medical care, but don’t need to be in a hospital. In addition to meals, housekeeping, and social activities, nursing home services may include skilled nursing care, rehabilitation programs, and palliative and hospice care.

Nursing home costs vary based on location and level of care provided. However, the median monthly cost of nursing home care in the U.S. is about $7,989 for a semi-private room and $9,086 for a private room, according to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey.

Residents at a nursing home facility typically need assistance with activities of daily living, which qualifies them for Aid and Attendance financial assistance as long as they are an eligible veteran or spouse of a deceased veteran.

Veterans benefits for home care

Home care provides non-medical care for seniors who wish to age at home. In-home caregivers are trained in senior care and provide a wide range of services that cater to individual needs. Home care services may include personal care, companionship, cooking, light housekeeping, mobility assistance, and more.

The cost of home care varies greatly because it’s based on the type of care needed and how often it’s provided. However, the median cost of home care in the U.S. is $23 an hour.

Seniors who are eligible for Aid and Attendance and receive home care help with activities of daily living, such as bathing or dressing, may receive a supplemental income to pay for these services.

Veterans benefits for independent living

Independent living facilities are for older adults who are generally healthy, active, and able to live on their own. These communities offer a carefree lifestyle for older adults who want convenience and a social lifestyle, free of the responsibilities of home ownership. Independent living services often include prepared meals, housekeeping, complimentary transportation, and social activities.

Typically, independent living facilities don’t provide assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing and toileting, which is one of the requirements for Aid & Attendance eligibility. However, as seniors age, their health may decline and their care needs may change. Some independent living residents may eventually use home care services for help with personal care.

Like with other senior care types, independent living costs vary based on location, amenities, and size of accommodations. However, the monthly median cost of senior independent living in the U.S. is $2,552. Eligible seniors who live in an independent living community but receive help with activities of daily living may qualify for Aid and Attendance’s supplemental income. This benefit can help offset the cost of personal care services provided by the community or a third-party service.

Veterans benefits to pay family caregivers

Those who qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits may be able to deduct the fees paid to a non-licensed in-home caregiver from their income. This means your loved one may deduct expenses related to paying a friend or family member other than their spouse to help with at least two activities of daily living.

However, it isn’t possible to use Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits to pay a spouse for care. This is because when an eligible veteran applies for veterans benefits, a spouse’s income is included in the household income, and care provided by a spouse isn’t considered a deductible expense.

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How do I apply for VA benefits for senior care?

The first step in the application process is to learn whether your loved one is eligible for VA long-term care benefits. Next, you will need to gather some information and documents, including:

  • The veteran’s social security number or VA file number
  • Military history
  • Financial information for the veteran and dependents
  • Bank account direct deposit information
  • The veteran’s original discharge papers (DD-214). Please note that the VA doesn’t accept copies of discharge papers.

Veterans under the age of 65 will also need:

  • Your work history
  • Your medical information

If your loved one is the surviving spouse of a veteran applying for benefits, you will also need a copy of your parents’ marriage certificate.

As early as possible, while you’re gathering documents and information to submit your application, it’s important to submit an Intent to File Claim form (VA 21-0966). The application process may take several months. This form will help establish a date for retroactive payments. You will also need to fill out other forms based on the benefits you’re seeking.

Where do I apply for VA benefits?

You may help your loved one apply for veterans benefits online on the VA website. If you help your relative create an account, they can save their work as you help them gather information and required documents for their application. Be sure to keep photocopies of any original documents.

Your loved one can also apply for veterans benefits by mail by sending their Application for Pension form to the VA’s Pension Management Center or in person at VA facility near you.

How can I get help applying for VA benefits?

Elderly couple discussing documents

The application process for veterans benefits can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Families who need assistance applying for VA benefits have options:

  • Veteran Service Officers, or VSOs, at a VA regional office may be able to offer free, basic guidance on the application process, and answer simple questions about available benefits. VSOs often volunteer across the country at American Legion halls and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) lodges.
  • Veterans organizations, such as VFW, American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) may be able to answer questions about benefits and help you prepare your application free of charge.
  • Accredited VA consultants can help families assess eligibility for VA long-term care benefits and help with financial planning as you prepare your loved one’s application. Accredited VA consultants offer paid assistance to families whose benefit application has been denied. These consultants may be able to help determine why an application wasn’t successful and help make any changes before it’s resubmitted to increase the chances of approval. However, it’s important to know that regulations prohibit consultants from charging families for help with an initial claim that hasn’t been denied. If you need help from an accredited VA consultant, A Place for Mom has selected the following trusted partners that can offer you and your family expert advice on veterans benefits.

As part of our partnership with Patriot Angels and Senior Veterans Council, we may be compensated for marketing their services to you.

  • Elder law attorneys can help families with financial planning and the VA benefits application process. When you’re seeking advice, it’s important to look for a reputable attorney who has experience with VA benefits.

Application forms for veterans

This information is for information purposes only. A Place for Mom doesn’t provide legal advice for benefits application. For professional legal advice, please consult with a VA-accredited claims representative.

DocumentForm NumberBasic VA PensionAid & AttendanceHousebound Benefits
Basic Pension Form for Veterans21P-527EZRequiredRequiredRequired
Section X (Medical Expense Report)21P-527EZOptionalRequiredRequired
Request from Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid & Attendance (if living in any type of senior community)21-0779N/ARequiredN/A
A statement of occupancy from the senior community where you live listing monthly rate and assistance providedN/AN/AIf applicableN/A
A letter from the home care agency or caregiverN/AN/AIf applicableIf applicable
Examination for Homebound Status of Permanent Need for Aid & Attendance21-2680N/ARequiredRequired
General Release for Medical Provider Information to the VA21-4142aN/ARecommendedRecommended
Authorization to Disclose Information to the VA (one for each physician)21-4142N/ARecommendedRecommended
Authorization to Disclose Personal Information to a Third-Party (son, daughter, in-law)21-0845If applicableRecommendedRecommended
Statement in Support of Claim21-4138If applicableRecommendedRecommended
Original Military Discharge Papers (photocopies are not acceptable)DD-214RequiredRequiredRequired

Application forms for surviving spouses of veterans

DocumentForm NumberBasic VA PensionAid and AttendanceHousebound Benefits
Basic Pension Form for Surviving Spouses21P-534EZRequiredRequiredRequired
Section X (Medical Expense Report)21P-534EZN/ARequiredRequired
Request from Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid & Attendance (if living in any type of senior community)21-0779N/ARequiredN/A
A statement of occupancy from the senior living community where you live listing monthly rate and assistance providedN/AN/AIf applicableN/A
A letter from the home care agency or caregiverN/AN/AIf applicableIf applicable
Examination for Homebound Status of Permanent Need for Aid & Attendance21-2680N/ARequiredRequired
General Release for Medical Provider Information to the VA21-4142aN/ARecommendedRecommended
Authorization to Disclose Information to the VA (one for each physician)21-4142N/ARecommendedRecommended
Authorization to Disclose Personal Information to a Third-Party (son, daughter, in-law)21-0845If applicableRecommendedRecommended
Statement in Support of Claim21-4138If applicableRecommendedRecommended
Original Military Discharge Papers (photocopies are not acceptable)DD-214RequiredRequiredRequired

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How long does the application and approval process take?

The application process for veterans benefits can be slow. You or your loved one will need to fill out several forms, and it may take some time to gather all the information and documents your loved one needs to complete their application.

The approval process for VA benefits may also take several months. It’s important to be thorough when completing your application so it can be processed as quickly as possible.

Eligible veterans and surviving spouses who are age 90 or older may request an expedited review in a cover letter with their application.

Are VA benefits retroactive?

While the application process may take several months, veterans benefits are paid retroactively once approved. This means the first benefit payment includes a lump sum to cover the months where the application was pending. It’s important to submit an Intent to File Claim form (VA 21-0966) to help establish a date for retroactive payments.

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Can I use VA long-term care benefits with Medicare to cover the cost of senior care?

All Americans who are 65 years old are eligible for Medicare, a national, government-funded health insurance program. In some cases, people who have a disability may be able to enroll in Medicare even if they’re under 65.

If your loved one qualifies for Medicare and VA benefits, they may enroll in both programs. However, unlike veterans benefits for senior care, Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of home care or expenses related to care at senior living facilities. Medicare only pays for short-term care at nursing home facilities for seniors who need rehabilitation or nursing care after an illness or injury that requires hospitalization. In some, cases Medicare may also cover in-home rehabilitation services and therapies.

Short-term care expenses covered by Medicare include:

  • 100% of the first 20 days in a Medicare-approved skilled nursing facility after a three-night minimum inpatient hospitalization
  • 80% of days 21-100 in a Medicare-approved skilled nursing facility
  • Short-term rehabilitation care at a nursing home after a hospitalization
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Can I use VA long-term care benefits with Medicaid to cover the cost of senior care?

Both the VA and Medicaid offer long-term care benefits. The VA Aid and Attendance benefit may be used to help pay for home care, assisted living, or nursing home costs. Medicaid typically only covers the cost of long-term care at nursing homes. In some cases, Medicaid may cover home care costs or community-based services for seniors who are eligible if they’d require nursing home care without these services. The type of care your loved one needs and eligibility requirements for VA benefits and Medicaid may determine whether to apply for financial assistance for senior care from one program over the other.

Grinning veteran hugged from behind by his happy partner.

If your loved one is a veteran who is eligible for VA benefits for long-term care, they may also be eligible for Medicaid. For example, if your family member qualifies for Aid and Attendance, but the amount their benefit pays is not enough to cover long-term care costs, they may be able to apply for Medicaid to cover the rest of the cost of nursing home care if they qualify financially.

However, Medicaid programs vary from state to state. For this reason, it may be a good idea to seek advice from an elder law attorney if you’re planning to apply for both VA benefits and Medicaid.

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What are the VA burial benefits?

Veterans who receive an honorable or general discharge may be buried in a national cemetery or a state veterans cemetery where the veteran lived at the time of death, as long as a gravesite is available. There’s no cost to the veteran’s family for the gravesite or a headstone or marker.

Spouses and dependents of veterans may also be buried in a national cemetery with the veteran. The VA will pay to have the spouse’s or dependent’s name and date of birth inscribed on the veteran’s headstone.

For veterans buried in a private cemetery, the VA provides a government headstone or marker and a burial flag at no cost to the veteran’s family. However, costs related to the headstone placement are not paid by the VA.

The VA also provides financial assistance to reimburse families of veterans for funeral and burial services. In order to qualify for these benefits, the deceased veteran must meet certain requirements. The amount reimbursed depends on several factors, including whether the cause of death was service-related.

  • Service-related deaths. The VA will pay up to $2,000 for burial expenses, in addition to all or some of the transportation costs to a VA national cemetery if that’s where the veteran will be buried.
  • Non-service-related deaths. The amounts paid vary based on date of death and whether or not the veteran dies at a VA hospital. However, burial and funeral expenses, as well as the cost of a burial plot, may be reimbursed.

Who qualifies for the VA burial benefit?

If you’re a family member of a veteran who paid for funeral or burial costs, you may be reimbursed for these costs if the veteran received an honorable or general discharge and if at least one of these other requirements are met:

  • The veteran died because of a service-related disability, or
  • The veteran was receiving VA pension or other compensation at the time of death, or had started the application process to receive these benefits and was found entitled to them, or
  • The veteran died at a VA hospital or while receiving care at another hospital under VA contract, or
  • The veteran died while traveling for care, treatment, or examination authorized and paid by the VA, or
  • The veteran died at a VA-approved state nursing home on or after October 9, 1996

How do I apply for VA burial benefits?

You will need to gather a few documents to apply for VA burial and funeral allowance benefits, including:

  • A death certificate
  • The veteran’s discharge documents
  • Receipts for payments you’ve made related to the funeral or burial services and burial plot

Next, you can submit your application on the VA website. You can also mail your application to the Pension Management Center that serves your state, work with an accredited VA representative to start the application process, or go to a local regional benefit office to turn in your application form in person.

This article was reviewed by Victoria L. Collier CELA, CEPA, co-owner of Patriot Angels.

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