benefits are monetary and nonmonetary benefits that eligible veterans receive
for their military service. Nonmonetary burial benefits have been provided
to servicemembers and veterans since the Civil War. Monetary burial
benefits have been provided to servicemembers and veterans since World War
Eligible veterans and active duty members of the Armed Forces can be interred
in national cemeteries and can receive government-furnished headstones or
markers, presidential memorial certificates, and burial flags. Their
spouses or surviving spouses, minor children, and, under certain
conditions, unmarried adult children may also be buried in national cemeteries.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) burial allowances are partial
reimbursements for eligible veterans’ burial and funeral costs. The
allowance amount provided depends on whether the veteran’s cause of death
was service-connected or non-service-connected, or whether the death occurred
in a VA facility. The next of kin to the veteran is eligible for reimbursement
if he or she paid for the veteran’s burial or funeral and has not been
reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the
deceased veteran’s employer.
The development of national cemeteries began as a result of the increasing
number of Civil War casualties. The National Cemetery Act of 1867 was the
first major piece of legislation to provide funds for, and directives
about, national cemeteries. Today, there are 131 national cemeteries, along
with 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites, under the jurisdiction of the VA.
This report provides a descriptive analysis of both nonmonetary and monetary
burial benefits and national cemeteries. It addresses congressional and
constituent issues, such as who is eligible to receive burial benefits;
who can be buried in a national cemetery; what plans does the VA have to build
new or expand existing national cemeteries; and what benefits does the VA
provide, among others. These issues may be of particular interest to
Congress due to the aging of the veteran population, the changes to
eligibility requirements, and recent VA report findings and recommendations
related to the establishment of national cemeteries.
Date of Report: January 10, 2013
Number of Pages: 21 Order Number: R41386 Price: $29.95
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