For love of country they accepted death.
President James A. Garfield
Obtaining a Burial Flag
- Military members on active duty
- Military retirees
- Members and former members of the Selected Reserve
- Eligible U.S. veterans of any war
- Other U.S. veterans who served at least one term of enlistment and separated under conditions other than dishonorable
Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it. For those VA national cemeteries with an Avenue of Flags, families of veterans buried in these national cemeteries may donate the burial flags of their loved ones to be flown on patriotic holidays.
Generally, the funeral director will help you obtain the flag or, you may apply for the flag by completing VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. You may get a flag at any VA regional office or U.S. Post Office.
The law allows us to issue one flag for a veteran’s funeral. We cannot replace it if it is lost, destroyed, or stolen. However, some veterans’ organizations or other community groups may be able to help you get another flag.
The proper way to display the flag depends upon whether the casket is open or closed. VA Form 27-2008 provides the correct method for displaying and folding the flag. The burial flag is not suitable for outside display because of its size and fabric. It is made of cotton and can easily be damaged by weather.
What are VA burial allowances?
VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible Veteran’s burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: (1) a burial and funeral expense allowance, and (2) a plot or interment allowance.
- you paid for a Veteran’s burial or funeral, AND
- you have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased Veteran’s employer, AND
- the Veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
- the Veteran died because of a service-related disability, OR
- the Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
- the Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay, OR
- the Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
- or the Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR
- the Veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date of death, OR
- the Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA–approved state nursing home.
VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001. VA will pay up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 10, 2001. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.
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.
You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits. You should attach a copy of the Veteran’s military discharge document (DD 214 or equivalent), death certificate, funeral and burial bills. They should show that you have paid them in full.
Note: All reimbursement amounts are not guaranteed.
Local and National Organizations
Chicago Regional Benefit Office
2122 West Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60612
3002 W. Route 120
McHenry, IL 60050