Veterans

Veteran's Benefits

Generally all honorably discharged veterans are entitled to a flag and military honors.   However since military honors are generally conducted by volunteer veterans themselves, availability cannot be guaranteed at the day and time of your request.  If burial is in a place other than a natonal or state veterans cemetery, then a military headstone may also be requested through the VA.   A Presidential Memorial Certificate signed by the current President on engraved paper may also be requested to honor the memory of a deceased veteran.

Most honorably discharged veterans are entitled to free burial and headstone in a national cemetery, such as Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington.  Tahoma provides options for both cremated and casketed remains.   It is one of more than 130 national cemeteries across the country which provide thousands of dollars of savings to the families of veterans.  While these federally-maintained facilities receive high satisfaction ratings, a fraction of eligible veterans and spouses use them.  More information regarding VA Burial and Memorial Benefits is available online.

For those veterans living in Eastern Washington, there is also the option of the Washington State Veterans Cemetery at Medical Lake near Spokane.  This cemetery is a joint partnerships between the VA and the State of Washington.   Burial and a headstone is free for veterans.   A $300 fee is  collected for the burial of a spouse or dependent child.

In certain circumstances, a Burial Allowance may be available from the Veterans Benefits Administration. otherwise, funeral home costs such as preparation for burial, viewing,casket, funeral service and transportation to the cemetery, are the responsiblity of the next-of-kin.  Membership in a funeral consumer organization, such as PEOPLE’S MEMORIAL Association, helps to keep the costs not covered by the government to a minimum.  Most funeral homes have information about veteran’s benefits and can assist families of veterans in arranging for burial in a national or state veterans cemetery.  For indigent veterans or their family members who have no resources for funeral costs, Washington State under RCW 73.08.070 requires that each county provide such funds for their cremation or burial.  To apply for indigent veteran’s assistance, contact the appropriate authority in your county.
In addition, the spouse and dependents of military personnel who die either during active duty service or after active duty service may be entitled to certain pension or survivor benefits.   Generally you will need proof of the veteran’s discharge from military service to apply for benefits.  You may request a copy of military discharge paperwork online, by fax or by mail.