On December 8, 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs ( “VA” or “DVA”) issued a Press Release allowing veterans and dependents to file an application for eligibility for interment in a VA national cemetery “prior to time of need” through the Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility Program. The Press Release can be viewed at va-press-release-burial-benefits.
To simplify, a veteran or qualified dependent can obtain written notice of eligibility for VA interment at a national cemetery before death (i.e. “prior to time of need”) by submitting the new VA Form 40-10007. Burial at a national cemetery includes gravesite, headstone or marker, opening and closing at the grave, and perpetual care of the gravesight at no cost. Eligibility as a qualified veteran or dependent closely mirrors the eligibility requirements as a veteran under 38 U.S.C. 101 and the VA has a separate website that explains eligibility at National Cemetery Eligibility.
It is common during estate planning that the topic of burial expenses/arrangements arise. It is also common that family members are contacting our office to handle estate matters immediately after the death of the individual where burial arrangements were not made or are unknown. Written notification from the DVA before death, would be a great vehicle to alleviate the person’s concerns prior to death and eliminate one variable for family members both grieving and attempting to handle estate affairs immediately after death.
I assume the VA written notification of pre-need eligibility will give clear instructions on how to proceed upon death and can kept with other estate documents for simple reference.
To the extent, individuals have questions concerning Title 38 (Department of Veterans Affairs) benefits, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (732) 382-6070.