Our team has extensive experience working with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and helping veterans and their families through all phases of the arrangement process. Our experience includes the arrangement of burials, coordinating military honors, helping with memorialization options, and survivor benefits, and transferring remains interred elsewhere, when necessary.
The VA does not cover the entire cost of funeral or cremation arrangements.
Many people believe the VA pays all funeral or cremation related expenses for an honorably discharged veteran, but this is not accurate. Certain benefits are available for armed forces retirees with specific qualifications such as a service-connected disability, those who die in a VA medical facility or long term care facility under VA contract. Our team will help determine whether you may be eligible for any of these benefits.
Military service must be verified by providing form DD214, more commonly known as discharge papers. If you do not have a copy of the discharge papers, we can help you obtain a replacement either through the VA Regional Office in Togus or by completing a request with the Military National Personnel Record Center.
Military Honors Ceremonies
We can help coordinate military honors to be rendered at the cemetery or other place of service if you would like. Traditional military honors include the playing of “Taps” and a flag ceremony including folding and presentation to the family.
Burial in a VA Cemetery
Burial in a VA cemetery is an option for any member of the armed forces who dies while on active duty or any veteran who was discharged honorably. A surviving spouse and minor children of an eligible veteran are also entitled to this benefit.
Southern Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery located in Springvale is the closest VA cemetery in our area. This cemetery provides a gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, and a headstone with perpetual care included with no charge to the family for any of these services. For those choosing cremation, an urn may be buried as a casket would be, including the same ceremony and honor as a traditional burial.
The cemetery does not reserve burial plots in advance, however, you can obtain a Certificate of Eligibility which informs the state of intentions to be buried in a VA cemetery within the state. A specific plot will be assigned as it is needed at the time of death, however, you can reserve an adjacent space for a spouse or minor to be buried next to the veteran.
Burial services are held one at a time and occur between 9am and 2pm. The VA cemetery is closed on holidays, weekends, and state shutdown days. Our team will work with you to make all of the arrangements and coordinate service details with the VA cemetery.
The VA provides a burial allowance for partial reimbursement of burial costs incurred for an eligible veteran. The allowance provides up to $300 to help cover burial costs with an additional plot allowance of up to $300 for non-service related deaths. Up to $2,000 in benefits may be paid if the death was service related. We can help you determine eligibility for these allowances and with submitting the appropriate paperwork to the VA for reimbursement.
A casket is not provided by the VA or branch of the military except in situations where the death occurs on active duty. If you are interested in a veteran casket, there are several styles and colors to choose from with personalization options for each branch of service.
All eligible veterans can receive an engraved paper certificate signed by the current president to honor their memory and their service after their death. We can help you complete the required application to receive copies of this certificate if you are interested.