Automatic Burial Payments to Surviving Spouses of Veterans


by, Victoria L. Collier, CELA, Co-Founder Lawyers With Purpose

Effective July 7, 2014, new burial regulations permit the VA to automatically pay the maximum burial allowance to a surviving spouse of a veteran, without the need for an application.

For deaths related to military service, the maximum burial allowance is $2,000. For non-service connected deaths, the allowance is $300 (unless the veteran was hospitalized by the VA at death, then it is $700).

Prior to this new procedure, upon the death of a veteran, the surviving spouse or other qualified person would have to file an application for reimbursement of our of pocket expenses on VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Allowance, and provide receipts. This will no longer be necessary. The VA will use information already in the veteran’s file.

It is projected that there will be approximately 140,000 claims for burial benefits in 2014. Of those, it is estimated that 62,000 surviving spouses will benefit from this new regulation.

The new regulations and automation should expedite the delivery of benefits to surviving spouses, reduce the number of claims that need manual processing, which in turn should help with the already burdened system and backlog of veterans claims.

For more information on available burial benefits, please contact our office at 919-443-3035 or go to:

http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/claims-special-burial.as