VA Burial Benefit - New Monetary Burial Award Rules
The VA has proposed to change and simplify the rules for a surviving spouse to receive the basic monetary burial award. Basically it is recognizing that any funeral will cost more than the allotted benefit. Thus to make it easier on the survivor they will not require a written application with attached receipts. They also say that they will be simplifying the descriptions and regulations to make it easier for the survivor to understand. Following are the VA’s proposed guidelines for the benefits for a non-service related death:
For deaths on or after October 1, 2011, VA will pay up to $700.00 toward burial and funeral expenses (if hospitalized by VA at time of death), or $300 toward burial and funeral expenses (if not hospitalized by VA at time of death), and a $700.00 plot-interment allowance (if not buried in a national cemetery). For deaths on or after December 1, 2001, but before October 1, 2011, VA will pay up to $300.00 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300.00 plot-interment allowance. The plot-interment allowance is $150.00 for deaths prior to December 1, 2001. If the death happened while the Veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing home care, some of all of the costs for transporting the Veteran’s remains may be reimbursed. An annual increase in burial and plot allowances, for deaths occurring after October 1, 2011, begins in fiscal year 2013 based on the Consumer Price Index for the preceding 12-month period.
Monetary Burial Benefits Regulation Change
VA is proposing to change its monetary burial benefits regulations to pay eligible survivors more quickly and efficiently. If approved, these regulations would authorize VA to pay, without a written application, eligible surviving spouses basic monetary burial benefits at the maximum amount authorized in law through automated systems rather than reimbursing them for actual costs incurred.
The changes are intended to help survivors of Veterans bear the cost of funerals by changing regulations to get them the benefits they deserve more quickly The proposed regulation, if approved, would do the following:
· Restructure, consolidate, and clarify VA’s current monetary burial benefits rules to make them easier to understand by Veterans, their survivors, and other stakeholders;
· Clearly establish VA’s priority of payments and enable automated payment to eligible surviving spouses;
· Remove the requirement for eligible surviving spouses to file a claim for basic burial allowances and simplify the burial claims process for all beneficiaries;
· Establish in regulations a presumption that VA will pay the service-connected (SC) burial allowance for Veterans that were rated totally disabled from service-connected conditions at the date of death; and
· Implement portions of Public Law 112-260, authorizing monetary burial benefits for Veterans without wartime service whose remains are unclaimed.
[Source: TREA News for the Enlisted 9 Dec 2013]