Vet’s Benefits Help Families Honor Their Service
Veterans and their families may not be aware of the benefits available to them to honor their service to our country after they pass away. These benefits are for all veterans with an honorable discharge, their spouse and any dependent children. They can help give special meaning to their service, even if they served in the military long before their passing.
According to Solace Funeral Director Malisa Riceci, burial benefits include a gravesite at 151 national cemeteries around the country. Even those who are cremated may have their urn placed in a columbarium or buried in a full-sized plot.
West Coast national cemeteries include Oregon’s Willamette National Cemetery, Vancouver Barracks National Cemetery or Tahoma National Cemetery in Washington state and Los Angeles National Cemetery in California.
You can find additional cemetery locations in California, Oregon and Washington on these Veteran’s Affairs websites.
Families may also receive a Presidential Memorial Certificate, are entitled to a burial flag to drape a casket or accompany an urn and can apply for a headstone, marker or medallion, which can be placed in a private cemetery.
Spouses and dependents are also eligible for some burial benefits even if they pass before the veteran does. The spouse of a vet will be placed in the same plot or niche as the vet, unless the spouse themselves are also a vet, then they can have their own spot next to each other. You can learn more about federal benefits on the Veterans Affairs website. Benefits for veterans and their families buried in private ceremonies are listed on this webpage.
Riceci says the family is also entitled to a half-hour ceremony at the national cemetery. Additionally, Riceci says, military honors, like the playing of taps and a flag presentation, can take place wherever the family plans to hold their ceremony, even a park or private funeral home setting. Sometimes, nonprofit groups like the Patriot Guard Riders may be able to help with special requests and will attend a service at the request of the family or funeral home.
Families interested in burial at sea can request help from the Navy or Coast Guard.
According to the Navy website, “The committal ceremony is performed while the ship is deployed. Therefore, family members are not allowed to be present. The commanding officer of the ship assigned to perform the ceremony will notify the family of the date, time, and longitude and latitude once the committal service has been completed. The average amount of time, for burial at sea, is 12 to 18 months, once the remains/cremains are received at the port of embarkation.”
Ports of Embarkation are listed in Bremerton, Wash. in the Pacific Northwest and San Diego in Southern California.
San Diego, CA
Naval Medical Center
Decedent Affairs Code: 09OA
San Diego, CA 92134-5000
Naval Hospital Bremerton
Code 015-BAS/HPO1 Boone Road
Bremerton, WA 98312-1898
Phone: (360) 475-4313
You can find additional military contacts listed on the MilitaryOneSource website for California, Oregon and Washington.
You have many options to honor a veteran in your family who has passed away, so be sure to investigate the benefits they earned with their service. Understanding burial benefit information can be complicated, so feel free to email or call our Solace Care Team if you have additional questions and we’ll help you navigate the options available to you. We never charge for helping veterans and their families with these additional details. It is our way of thanking veterans and their families for their service.
Photo by Sydney Rae
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