When a Veteran Dies an Angel Cries

flagThe passing of our veterans is always the end of an era, the final call of our creator.  How tragic we whale but such is the cycle of our existence, ones time must ultimately arrive, our purpose has been fulfilled.  The loss to loved ones is stark, an end to a life of honor, the final call that no veteran can deny.  An angel sheds a tear when a veteran passes for there are few to replace him or her, they stood where few would tread, they fell when some fled and they rose when many withered.

 

But for the family that end is the beginning of their final honors to On Guardtheir hero.  The painful path to the final resting place is hard for those left behind but necessary and a proper closing when the flag is drawn and taps are played. That path is strewn with what might seem to be clutter and drudgery but in the end our veteran deserves all that was sacrificed for and all that was earned because we need that closing as much as our veteran does.

 

That path is so scary but there is help and guidance and others that want to help.  Our heroes and their families are entitled to certain benefits and it is our duty to see they are obtained.  Few veterans made their military history an open book but families must organize whatever they have so the ordeal is less traumatic.  The funeral director can assist in many ways with paperwork, formalities, contacting veterans’ organizations and cemeteries but in the end the loved ones must accumulate the bulk of the necessary records.

 

Veterans of the United State Armed forces are eligible for an array of benefits and services.  Eligibility is based on several circumstances and issues and the Veterans Administration (Veterans Affairs) can be very helpful.  The following information is an effort to assist families in the final hours but in the end those left behind must take control and make the closing chapter of their heroes passing a journey of honor.

 

Necessary Documents:Graves & Flags

·       Veterans Discharge Certificate (DD 214)

·       Social Security Number

·       Death Certificate

·       Birth Certificate

·       Marriage Certificate

·       Divorce Decree

·       Social Security Numbers for all family Members

·       Children’s Birth Certificates

·       Life insurance policies

·       Wills, Deeds, letters of intent

 

VETERANS BURIAL BENEFITS FOR ELIGIBLE VETERANS

·       Veterans and their spouses can be buried at National Veteran Cemeteries at no cost

·       Provided with headstones and/or markers

·       Presidential Memorial Certificates

·       Military Funeral Honors:  At the family’s request the United States Department of Defense will provide military funeral honors which include the folded Flag (provided by the funeral director & supplied by the Veterans Administration) and taps

·       Burial expenses up to $2000 for service related deaths and $300 plus $150 plot allowance for non-service related deaths

 

BURIAL IN A NATIONAL CEMETERY

·       Members who have met minimum active duty requirements

·       Discharged Honorably

·       A spouse, minor children and certain unmarried adult children are eligible even if they pre-decease the veteran.  Other requirements and limitations may apply in unordinary circumstances.  The funeral director can work with the nearest National Cemetery in making appropriate arrangements for an eligible veteran.

 

NATIONAL CEMETERIESBurial

·       Bath National Cemetery

·       Calverton National Cemetery

·       Woodlawn National Cemetery

·       Long Island National Cemetery

·       Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery

 

NEW YORK STATE VETERANS BENEFITS

·       Max payment of $6000 to defray burial and funeral expenses for New York State residents killed in combat after September 2003

·       Applications for payment must be received within two years of burial or cremation

·       New York State can also help those unable to afford funeral expenses

 

Timing is critical  Do not wait to apply for the eligible benefits there are time limits that apply and it is the veterans family and loved ones that must take that responsibility. 

 

The following are additional resources:

 

Fred White, Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army