I know this is a subject that we do want to think about. We were young once, full of life and perhaps a bit “wild”. Some of us started families, others went straight to college after the military, and still others made the military their career, and accomplished all of the above. The fact is, we are mortal, and will need to make a hard decision about our own funeral arrangements. The information I am providing is for burial at a national cemetery.
I promised to write about this topic in my post here about requesting your DD214 if it has been lost or destroyed. Having your DD214 at hand is a requirement for gaining access to your burial benefits from the VA. A few years ago, I filled out the request online, and I was sent information via snail mail. The packet included information about the cemetery (in my case, Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL.). You need to fill out the information requested, including whether or not you want to be cremated or have a full burial. You also must choose a marker for your headstone, and as of 2019 there are many available, everything from the Christian cross to the Star of David to Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer (for pagans). I filled out the forms, picked my symbol for the headstone, and mailed the information in. The form is VA Form 21P-530, and can be downloaded from the VA website here.
Remember, the benefit is not only for the veteran. A veteran’s spouse and minor children also fall under coverage in the benefit.
There are not many benefits that non-combat veterans can apply for and receive, but the burial benefit is one that should be taken advantage of. I am coming across more information daily about the benefits that are becoming available for non-combat veterans. Just recently, I found out that a veteran pension is available for non-combat and non service-related disabled veterans. This pension is available for veterans or their surviving spouses over the age of 65 with limited or no income. This is just one of the many benefits that are becoming more available for veterans.