The U.S. Department of Veterans Administration is the only government agency providing funeral benefits for seniors. The benefits are available only to eligible military veterans and some family members. The benefits for veterans include a grave site at a national cemetery, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag and a presidential memorial certificate -- all available at no cost. The VA does not participate in funeral arrangements or perform cremations. Services of a funeral home must be paid by the family.
The Social Security Administration does not offer funeral benefits. The agency will pay an eligible spouse or surviving child a lump sum of $255 following the death of a Social Security recipient. However, Social Security reports that the payment will not be made to the funeral home or paid to the deceased's estate for funeral expense purposes.
Medicaid offers funeral benefits in some states but is a state-run program with matching funds support from the federal government. However, individual states decide how to use the money, and funeral benefits for seniors are not guaranteed. States that do offer benefits establish their own criteria for eligibility.
Medicare is funded by the federal government but does not provide funeral benefits. The program provides funding for qualified participants seeking help with with medical services such as diabetes screening, chemotherapy services, eyeglasses and more.
Veteran's Benefits Eligibility
People seeking funeral expense benefits from the VA must submit to an eligibility verification. In addition to military veterans, spouses and dependents of veterans may be eligible for benefits. VA regional offices can assist with eligibility certification. Contact a VA regional office by calling 800-827-1000.
- Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut: Prepaid Funeral Contracts
- Social Security Online: Lump-Sum Death Payment
- U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: Burial and Memorial Benefits
- Indianapolis Marion County Public Library: Full Record for Medicaid Funeral Assistance - DFR
- Medicare.gov: Your Medicare Genefits