The Foxhole: Veterans earn death benefits
This article is general information for the families of recently deceased veterans of any age, service or means. These are benefits that the veteran, (and his/her family) has earned as a result of their honorable service to America. Reputable funeral homes usually have this information, but families should be aware of these benefits in any case. Use the following information to ensure all benefits you are entitled to are received. One may also contact the local American Legion Post for help navigating the VA website. One way to start the process for burial at a national cemetery is now, before the passing of your loved one. Go to cem.va.gov/pre-need to fill out a “pre-need” application. This saves time and confusion later on.
The honorably discharged veteran is entitled to a burial, at no cost to the family, at one of any of 135 national cemeteries, with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. In addition to this benefit, if the veteran is buried in a national cemetery, the spouse and dependents are also eligible to be buried at no cost, with their names inscribed on the headstone as well. They may be buried even if they pre-decease the veteran. When a death and burial occur in two different states, these benefits may be “lost” between state lines, so the family should follow up to ensure they receive the entitlements the veteran has earned. In addition, the dependents and/or survivors of the deceased may be eligible for burial and plot interment allowance.
At this time, there are three state veterans cemeteries in Connecticut:
- The Connecticut State Veterans Cemetery at 317 Bow Lane, Middletown (860-721-5824).
- Colonel Raymond F. Gates Memorial Cemetery, 287 West Street, Rocky Hill.
- Spring Grove Veterans Cemetery in Darien. At this time the veterans section is closed.
A government-furnished headstone or marker will be provided to any eligible veteran who died after Nov. 1, 1990, whose grave is marked with a private headstone. A government-furnished medallion will be provided to any eligible veteran who died after April 6, 1917. Although there is no charge for the headstone or marker, the cost of placing it at the grave is the responsibility of the family or estate.
You may also locate the grave of a veteran through the National Cemetery Administration at gravelocator.cem.va.gov.
Post 86 is always here to assist anyone who has questions in the event of the death of a veteran. You may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-918-3767. You may also look online at cem.va.gov to obtain more information.
For those whose veteran loved ones are buried in Wilton, and notice there is no grave flag placed on their grave for Memorial Day, please use the above contact information to let us know, so we can rectify the situation.