Estate Planning

Veteran Death: Essential Actions and Checklist for Next of Kin

veteran death

Joel Lim

Mar 30, 2024

If you’re related to a current or former member of the armed forces, there are policies in place to ensure certain actions happen as a result of the veteran’s eventual death. 

Determining the right death benefits, paperwork, and other credentials can be challenging, as they can vary from family to family. Preparing ahead is key so your family can get the benefits they’re entitled to when the time comes. We’ll explain what to do before and after your military loved one passes on.


Key Takeaways

  • There are many charters and organizations (County Veteran Services, Social Security Office, etc.) to contact when a veteran family member dies, and it’s necessary to act as quickly as possible.

  • If your veteran family member is still alive, you can take crucial steps to prepare to be free of any setbacks when qualifying for benefits and services later.

  • Next of kin can qualify for death gratuities and insurance and healthcare benefits after the death of a current or former military member in the family.


Checklist for What to Do When a Veteran Dies 

checklist for what to do when a veteran dies 

There are many different agencies families of military members must contact within 30 days of the veteran’s death. 

You must notify them for next of kin to receive benefits. They also help overcome the legal and financial issues associated with requesting and receiving them. Here’s a rundown of what you must do to guarantee next-of-kin benefits.

Prepare Documents

The key document you give to many agencies is a death certificate, which is issued when a medical professional pronounces the person as dead. A hospital or hospice automatically arranges the death certificate if the person’s last moments were under professional care. For out-of-hospital deaths, the person is taken to the emergency room and is pronounced dead if they can’t be revived.

Other documents you may need include survivor benefits request documents and a DD214 to verify your loved one served in the U.S. military.

Funeral Director, Kari Northey, explains:

“You need that (DD214) to show that you were honorably discharged and that you served in the branch that you were in, so that form is what is required to get any of the benefits. Sometimes, the wall certificate or your pocket card that you were given can get the paperwork started and with that, you can request a copy of your discharge paper.”

Use Trustworthy to help organize these essential documents in one secure place so that when the time comes, you won’t need to scramble for your papers. 

Obtain 10-15 Death Certificate Copies

When you obtain the death certificate, you can make 10 to 15 copies — one for each agency or entity that needs it. You can simply scan the certificate and print it, either at home or at a printing center like a FedEx Office store.

The list of places to send copies of the death certificate includes:

  1. The bank

  2. Credit union

  3. Local elections office

  4. Utility companies

  5. Other businesses and companies that the veteran may have been a member of (including ongoing subscriptions)

Northey adds:

“Some states offer free death certificates for the family of a veteran and even for a veteran’s spouse, like Michigan gives one free death certificate, New Jersey gives one, Tennessee gives three, and Pennsylvania will give up to 10 death certificates to a veteran’s family.”

Uploading documents to Trustworthy reduces the need for paper copies and car trips. If insurance companies and government offices allow email resource gathering, you can easily email documents as attachments.

Contact County Veteran Services

Contact your local Veteran Affairs office by phone, mail, or in-person to notify personnel of your veteran family member’s death. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can help arrange a number of things, such as providing funeral expenses and ceasing ongoing payments to your veteran’s account. 

Additionally, they’ll help ensure that the spouse and children (if applicable) receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

Make Funeral Arrangements

If your veteran dies on active duty or after being discharged honorably, Veterans Affairs will cover all or most of the funeral, transportation, and burial expenses. This is done with a benefit known as the veteran's burial allowance, which is $948 for the burial, $948 for the gravesite, and $231 for the headstones. You must choose the funeral home, church, and cemetery and contact each to arrange the wake, funeral, and burial of your deceased veteran. 

Notify the Social Security Office

Notifying the right Social Security office ensures you receive benefits following the death of your military loved one. Call 1 (800) 772-1213 to report a death or sign up for survivor benefits. If you know you’re receiving benefits from Social Security, you only need to report the death. This office should take care of the services you need afterward.

For a full list of institutions to notify, click here.

Contact Life Insurance Company

If possible, you must file a claim with the veteran’s life insurance provider. The provider needs a copy of your veteran’s death certificate to proceed. The purpose of filing a claim is to receive a lump sum payment as a result of the veteran’s death. If you're too distraught to file on your own, an insurance agent should be able to help you file.

Keep your veteran’s death certificate and other documents properly organized with Trustworthy. It can sort all your files, from insurance and finance documents to legal paperwork and wills, to make them easy to find while providing bank-level security.

Address Legal Matters

Contact your attorney regarding the probate process if you feel there might be legal hurdles now or when you attempt to request benefits. An attorney can help with legal troubles if the veteran wrote a will. If you don’t have a lawyer, a military legal assistance lawyer can help you with expenses paid for.

Handle Possible Debt Collectors

Unfortunately, if your loved one dies and still owes debt, it doesn’t go away. After death, the deceased person’s debts must be paid from the person’s estate. Fortunately, you’re not required to pay money out of your own pocket to a debt collector. There are things you can do to prevent a collector from calling or emailing you until you can pay off the debt.

If you don’t have information about your loved one’s debt, it’s important to talk to the collector or have them outline what the debt entails. This includes the debt collector’s name and mailing address, how much money is owed, the debt collection company, your debt collection rights, and what you can do if you don’t think you’re responsible for paying the debt.

If you don’t want the collector to contact you, clearly state on the phone or in writing that they can’t call and/or send you emails. You can also declare that they can’t contact you at work.


How to Report the Death of a Veteran to VA

how to report the death of a veteran to va

Reporting the death of a veteran is necessary so beneficiaries can avoid debt as well as prevent others from using the individual’s information to commit identity theft. The VA will also arrange your loved one’s burial and some funeral expenses.

There are different ways to notify the VA if your veteran has passed on. You can report the death via phone or in person at an office.

VA Phone Number

The VA has a national hotline, and the number is 1-800-827-1000. When you call, an automated voice will answer. Press “5” on your keypad to speak with a specialist so you can report your veteran’s death. 

The specialist will help you through the process of purchasing funeral plans and benefits. Phone lines are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST.

VA Mailing Address

You can write a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs. You’ll need evidence to confirm the veteran’s identity and proof you’re related to them.

Here is the address to write on the front of your envelope:

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims Intake Center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI, 53547-4444

You should receive a letter in the mail from the office outlining the next steps. The VA mentions that mailing is the slowest method of contact, so it may take longer for the office to halt any benefit payments the veteran receives on a regular basis.

VA Regional Office

Go to this link to find the nearest VA location. Enter the city, state, or postal code of your location. There’s no need to change the facility type or service type — click the blue “Search” button.

You’ll find VA offices within 20 miles of your location. From here, you can visit the company’s website, get directions on Google Maps, and copy the location’s phone number. Feel free to call, write to, or drive to the location to inform personnel of your veteran’s death.


Importance of Pre-Planning a Veteran Death

importance of pre-planning a veteran death

A death in the family can negatively affect parents, siblings, children, and other relatives. It can also spell uncertain times from both a supportive and financial standpoint. 

Here’s what to take into account when pre-planning a veteran’s death:

Financial Security

Pre-planning ensures veterans can see how much they need to spend on funeral costs and pay for the expenses in advance before costs go up. The VA office and local veterans charters can assist with paying for the funeral.

Guarantee Eligibility Of Benefits

Contacting agencies that handle finances and insurance for veterans' deaths now can give you more time to prepare. That way, you’ll be in the clear when it comes to survivor benefits, military honors, and funeral arrangements.

Funeral Services

Pre-planning for a veteran’s death will ensure the funeral is just as the veteran expected, with a proper ceremony and final resting place. A headstone and American Flag for the casket or urn will be provided free of charge from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Straightforward Funeral Planning

Allowing the veteran to decide on funeral arrangements while they’re still alive will avoid a lot of headaches and turmoil for surviving family members over many choices, from the casket to the burial plot.

Have Military Documentation Ready

The last thing you need is to race against the clock to find all the paperwork you need to help your family qualify for benefits and memorial services. 

While you have access and possession of your documents, count on Trustworthy to keep online versions of each document on file and ready to share with agencies when the inevitable arrives.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What benefits am I entitled to as the next of kin of a deceased veteran?

If you’re the spouse, child, or parent of a deceased veteran, you may be entitled to financial aid, health care, and life insurance. These benefits include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), housebound benefits, death pensions, death gratuities, and aid & attendance benefits.

How do you honor dead veterans?

There are many ways to honor deceased veterans. Family members can show appreciation by participating in local Veterans Day events, such as memorials or parades.

You can also volunteer at a veterans organization to support living veterans in your area, such as raising funds. And, of course, display the American flag proudly where you live or work to pay respect to all veterans.

What is the death benefit for a military veteran?

Survivors of current or former members of the Armed Forces who died on active duty receive a $100,000 death gratuity from the Department of Defense. This gratuity is an immediate payment to the deceased veteran’s family and is not affected by any tax deductions. The gratuity is a fixed amount regardless if the military member dies while on active duty or with honorable veteran status.

Can I get reimbursed if I already paid for a veteran’s funeral?

After reporting a veteran’s death to the VA, the office will cover all or most of the funeral costs. Funerals are often arranged within a week or two after the veteran’s death, so if you already arranged and paid for funeral arrangements, you will get a reimbursement for a portion of your funeral costs, with certain limits.

How can I cope with the grief of losing a veteran loved one?

There is no right or wrong way to handle the loss of a beloved family member. Losing a military spouse or family member can be an extremely stressful and emotional experience. 

Ways to cope include asking for support from friends and family, maintaining a healthy well-being by eating right and staying in shape, and finding special ways to remember your loved one through memorials or partaking in veteran outreach events.

Estate Planning

Veteran Death: Essential Actions and Checklist for Next of Kin

veteran death

Joel Lim

Mar 30, 2024

If you’re related to a current or former member of the armed forces, there are policies in place to ensure certain actions happen as a result of the veteran’s eventual death. 

Determining the right death benefits, paperwork, and other credentials can be challenging, as they can vary from family to family. Preparing ahead is key so your family can get the benefits they’re entitled to when the time comes. We’ll explain what to do before and after your military loved one passes on.


Key Takeaways

  • There are many charters and organizations (County Veteran Services, Social Security Office, etc.) to contact when a veteran family member dies, and it’s necessary to act as quickly as possible.

  • If your veteran family member is still alive, you can take crucial steps to prepare to be free of any setbacks when qualifying for benefits and services later.

  • Next of kin can qualify for death gratuities and insurance and healthcare benefits after the death of a current or former military member in the family.


Checklist for What to Do When a Veteran Dies 

checklist for what to do when a veteran dies 

There are many different agencies families of military members must contact within 30 days of the veteran’s death. 

You must notify them for next of kin to receive benefits. They also help overcome the legal and financial issues associated with requesting and receiving them. Here’s a rundown of what you must do to guarantee next-of-kin benefits.

Prepare Documents

The key document you give to many agencies is a death certificate, which is issued when a medical professional pronounces the person as dead. A hospital or hospice automatically arranges the death certificate if the person’s last moments were under professional care. For out-of-hospital deaths, the person is taken to the emergency room and is pronounced dead if they can’t be revived.

Other documents you may need include survivor benefits request documents and a DD214 to verify your loved one served in the U.S. military.

Funeral Director, Kari Northey, explains:

“You need that (DD214) to show that you were honorably discharged and that you served in the branch that you were in, so that form is what is required to get any of the benefits. Sometimes, the wall certificate or your pocket card that you were given can get the paperwork started and with that, you can request a copy of your discharge paper.”

Use Trustworthy to help organize these essential documents in one secure place so that when the time comes, you won’t need to scramble for your papers. 

Obtain 10-15 Death Certificate Copies

When you obtain the death certificate, you can make 10 to 15 copies — one for each agency or entity that needs it. You can simply scan the certificate and print it, either at home or at a printing center like a FedEx Office store.

The list of places to send copies of the death certificate includes:

  1. The bank

  2. Credit union

  3. Local elections office

  4. Utility companies

  5. Other businesses and companies that the veteran may have been a member of (including ongoing subscriptions)

Northey adds:

“Some states offer free death certificates for the family of a veteran and even for a veteran’s spouse, like Michigan gives one free death certificate, New Jersey gives one, Tennessee gives three, and Pennsylvania will give up to 10 death certificates to a veteran’s family.”

Uploading documents to Trustworthy reduces the need for paper copies and car trips. If insurance companies and government offices allow email resource gathering, you can easily email documents as attachments.

Contact County Veteran Services

Contact your local Veteran Affairs office by phone, mail, or in-person to notify personnel of your veteran family member’s death. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can help arrange a number of things, such as providing funeral expenses and ceasing ongoing payments to your veteran’s account. 

Additionally, they’ll help ensure that the spouse and children (if applicable) receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

Make Funeral Arrangements

If your veteran dies on active duty or after being discharged honorably, Veterans Affairs will cover all or most of the funeral, transportation, and burial expenses. This is done with a benefit known as the veteran's burial allowance, which is $948 for the burial, $948 for the gravesite, and $231 for the headstones. You must choose the funeral home, church, and cemetery and contact each to arrange the wake, funeral, and burial of your deceased veteran. 

Notify the Social Security Office

Notifying the right Social Security office ensures you receive benefits following the death of your military loved one. Call 1 (800) 772-1213 to report a death or sign up for survivor benefits. If you know you’re receiving benefits from Social Security, you only need to report the death. This office should take care of the services you need afterward.

For a full list of institutions to notify, click here.

Contact Life Insurance Company

If possible, you must file a claim with the veteran’s life insurance provider. The provider needs a copy of your veteran’s death certificate to proceed. The purpose of filing a claim is to receive a lump sum payment as a result of the veteran’s death. If you're too distraught to file on your own, an insurance agent should be able to help you file.

Keep your veteran’s death certificate and other documents properly organized with Trustworthy. It can sort all your files, from insurance and finance documents to legal paperwork and wills, to make them easy to find while providing bank-level security.

Address Legal Matters

Contact your attorney regarding the probate process if you feel there might be legal hurdles now or when you attempt to request benefits. An attorney can help with legal troubles if the veteran wrote a will. If you don’t have a lawyer, a military legal assistance lawyer can help you with expenses paid for.

Handle Possible Debt Collectors

Unfortunately, if your loved one dies and still owes debt, it doesn’t go away. After death, the deceased person’s debts must be paid from the person’s estate. Fortunately, you’re not required to pay money out of your own pocket to a debt collector. There are things you can do to prevent a collector from calling or emailing you until you can pay off the debt.

If you don’t have information about your loved one’s debt, it’s important to talk to the collector or have them outline what the debt entails. This includes the debt collector’s name and mailing address, how much money is owed, the debt collection company, your debt collection rights, and what you can do if you don’t think you’re responsible for paying the debt.

If you don’t want the collector to contact you, clearly state on the phone or in writing that they can’t call and/or send you emails. You can also declare that they can’t contact you at work.


How to Report the Death of a Veteran to VA

how to report the death of a veteran to va

Reporting the death of a veteran is necessary so beneficiaries can avoid debt as well as prevent others from using the individual’s information to commit identity theft. The VA will also arrange your loved one’s burial and some funeral expenses.

There are different ways to notify the VA if your veteran has passed on. You can report the death via phone or in person at an office.

VA Phone Number

The VA has a national hotline, and the number is 1-800-827-1000. When you call, an automated voice will answer. Press “5” on your keypad to speak with a specialist so you can report your veteran’s death. 

The specialist will help you through the process of purchasing funeral plans and benefits. Phone lines are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST.

VA Mailing Address

You can write a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs. You’ll need evidence to confirm the veteran’s identity and proof you’re related to them.

Here is the address to write on the front of your envelope:

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims Intake Center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI, 53547-4444

You should receive a letter in the mail from the office outlining the next steps. The VA mentions that mailing is the slowest method of contact, so it may take longer for the office to halt any benefit payments the veteran receives on a regular basis.

VA Regional Office

Go to this link to find the nearest VA location. Enter the city, state, or postal code of your location. There’s no need to change the facility type or service type — click the blue “Search” button.

You’ll find VA offices within 20 miles of your location. From here, you can visit the company’s website, get directions on Google Maps, and copy the location’s phone number. Feel free to call, write to, or drive to the location to inform personnel of your veteran’s death.


Importance of Pre-Planning a Veteran Death

importance of pre-planning a veteran death

A death in the family can negatively affect parents, siblings, children, and other relatives. It can also spell uncertain times from both a supportive and financial standpoint. 

Here’s what to take into account when pre-planning a veteran’s death:

Financial Security

Pre-planning ensures veterans can see how much they need to spend on funeral costs and pay for the expenses in advance before costs go up. The VA office and local veterans charters can assist with paying for the funeral.

Guarantee Eligibility Of Benefits

Contacting agencies that handle finances and insurance for veterans' deaths now can give you more time to prepare. That way, you’ll be in the clear when it comes to survivor benefits, military honors, and funeral arrangements.

Funeral Services

Pre-planning for a veteran’s death will ensure the funeral is just as the veteran expected, with a proper ceremony and final resting place. A headstone and American Flag for the casket or urn will be provided free of charge from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Straightforward Funeral Planning

Allowing the veteran to decide on funeral arrangements while they’re still alive will avoid a lot of headaches and turmoil for surviving family members over many choices, from the casket to the burial plot.

Have Military Documentation Ready

The last thing you need is to race against the clock to find all the paperwork you need to help your family qualify for benefits and memorial services. 

While you have access and possession of your documents, count on Trustworthy to keep online versions of each document on file and ready to share with agencies when the inevitable arrives.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What benefits am I entitled to as the next of kin of a deceased veteran?

If you’re the spouse, child, or parent of a deceased veteran, you may be entitled to financial aid, health care, and life insurance. These benefits include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), housebound benefits, death pensions, death gratuities, and aid & attendance benefits.

How do you honor dead veterans?

There are many ways to honor deceased veterans. Family members can show appreciation by participating in local Veterans Day events, such as memorials or parades.

You can also volunteer at a veterans organization to support living veterans in your area, such as raising funds. And, of course, display the American flag proudly where you live or work to pay respect to all veterans.

What is the death benefit for a military veteran?

Survivors of current or former members of the Armed Forces who died on active duty receive a $100,000 death gratuity from the Department of Defense. This gratuity is an immediate payment to the deceased veteran’s family and is not affected by any tax deductions. The gratuity is a fixed amount regardless if the military member dies while on active duty or with honorable veteran status.

Can I get reimbursed if I already paid for a veteran’s funeral?

After reporting a veteran’s death to the VA, the office will cover all or most of the funeral costs. Funerals are often arranged within a week or two after the veteran’s death, so if you already arranged and paid for funeral arrangements, you will get a reimbursement for a portion of your funeral costs, with certain limits.

How can I cope with the grief of losing a veteran loved one?

There is no right or wrong way to handle the loss of a beloved family member. Losing a military spouse or family member can be an extremely stressful and emotional experience. 

Ways to cope include asking for support from friends and family, maintaining a healthy well-being by eating right and staying in shape, and finding special ways to remember your loved one through memorials or partaking in veteran outreach events.

Estate Planning

Veteran Death: Essential Actions and Checklist for Next of Kin

veteran death

Joel Lim

Mar 30, 2024

If you’re related to a current or former member of the armed forces, there are policies in place to ensure certain actions happen as a result of the veteran’s eventual death. 

Determining the right death benefits, paperwork, and other credentials can be challenging, as they can vary from family to family. Preparing ahead is key so your family can get the benefits they’re entitled to when the time comes. We’ll explain what to do before and after your military loved one passes on.


Key Takeaways

  • There are many charters and organizations (County Veteran Services, Social Security Office, etc.) to contact when a veteran family member dies, and it’s necessary to act as quickly as possible.

  • If your veteran family member is still alive, you can take crucial steps to prepare to be free of any setbacks when qualifying for benefits and services later.

  • Next of kin can qualify for death gratuities and insurance and healthcare benefits after the death of a current or former military member in the family.


Checklist for What to Do When a Veteran Dies 

checklist for what to do when a veteran dies 

There are many different agencies families of military members must contact within 30 days of the veteran’s death. 

You must notify them for next of kin to receive benefits. They also help overcome the legal and financial issues associated with requesting and receiving them. Here’s a rundown of what you must do to guarantee next-of-kin benefits.

Prepare Documents

The key document you give to many agencies is a death certificate, which is issued when a medical professional pronounces the person as dead. A hospital or hospice automatically arranges the death certificate if the person’s last moments were under professional care. For out-of-hospital deaths, the person is taken to the emergency room and is pronounced dead if they can’t be revived.

Other documents you may need include survivor benefits request documents and a DD214 to verify your loved one served in the U.S. military.

Funeral Director, Kari Northey, explains:

“You need that (DD214) to show that you were honorably discharged and that you served in the branch that you were in, so that form is what is required to get any of the benefits. Sometimes, the wall certificate or your pocket card that you were given can get the paperwork started and with that, you can request a copy of your discharge paper.”

Use Trustworthy to help organize these essential documents in one secure place so that when the time comes, you won’t need to scramble for your papers. 

Obtain 10-15 Death Certificate Copies

When you obtain the death certificate, you can make 10 to 15 copies — one for each agency or entity that needs it. You can simply scan the certificate and print it, either at home or at a printing center like a FedEx Office store.

The list of places to send copies of the death certificate includes:

  1. The bank

  2. Credit union

  3. Local elections office

  4. Utility companies

  5. Other businesses and companies that the veteran may have been a member of (including ongoing subscriptions)

Northey adds:

“Some states offer free death certificates for the family of a veteran and even for a veteran’s spouse, like Michigan gives one free death certificate, New Jersey gives one, Tennessee gives three, and Pennsylvania will give up to 10 death certificates to a veteran’s family.”

Uploading documents to Trustworthy reduces the need for paper copies and car trips. If insurance companies and government offices allow email resource gathering, you can easily email documents as attachments.

Contact County Veteran Services

Contact your local Veteran Affairs office by phone, mail, or in-person to notify personnel of your veteran family member’s death. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can help arrange a number of things, such as providing funeral expenses and ceasing ongoing payments to your veteran’s account. 

Additionally, they’ll help ensure that the spouse and children (if applicable) receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

Make Funeral Arrangements

If your veteran dies on active duty or after being discharged honorably, Veterans Affairs will cover all or most of the funeral, transportation, and burial expenses. This is done with a benefit known as the veteran's burial allowance, which is $948 for the burial, $948 for the gravesite, and $231 for the headstones. You must choose the funeral home, church, and cemetery and contact each to arrange the wake, funeral, and burial of your deceased veteran. 

Notify the Social Security Office

Notifying the right Social Security office ensures you receive benefits following the death of your military loved one. Call 1 (800) 772-1213 to report a death or sign up for survivor benefits. If you know you’re receiving benefits from Social Security, you only need to report the death. This office should take care of the services you need afterward.

For a full list of institutions to notify, click here.

Contact Life Insurance Company

If possible, you must file a claim with the veteran’s life insurance provider. The provider needs a copy of your veteran’s death certificate to proceed. The purpose of filing a claim is to receive a lump sum payment as a result of the veteran’s death. If you're too distraught to file on your own, an insurance agent should be able to help you file.

Keep your veteran’s death certificate and other documents properly organized with Trustworthy. It can sort all your files, from insurance and finance documents to legal paperwork and wills, to make them easy to find while providing bank-level security.

Address Legal Matters

Contact your attorney regarding the probate process if you feel there might be legal hurdles now or when you attempt to request benefits. An attorney can help with legal troubles if the veteran wrote a will. If you don’t have a lawyer, a military legal assistance lawyer can help you with expenses paid for.

Handle Possible Debt Collectors

Unfortunately, if your loved one dies and still owes debt, it doesn’t go away. After death, the deceased person’s debts must be paid from the person’s estate. Fortunately, you’re not required to pay money out of your own pocket to a debt collector. There are things you can do to prevent a collector from calling or emailing you until you can pay off the debt.

If you don’t have information about your loved one’s debt, it’s important to talk to the collector or have them outline what the debt entails. This includes the debt collector’s name and mailing address, how much money is owed, the debt collection company, your debt collection rights, and what you can do if you don’t think you’re responsible for paying the debt.

If you don’t want the collector to contact you, clearly state on the phone or in writing that they can’t call and/or send you emails. You can also declare that they can’t contact you at work.


How to Report the Death of a Veteran to VA

how to report the death of a veteran to va

Reporting the death of a veteran is necessary so beneficiaries can avoid debt as well as prevent others from using the individual’s information to commit identity theft. The VA will also arrange your loved one’s burial and some funeral expenses.

There are different ways to notify the VA if your veteran has passed on. You can report the death via phone or in person at an office.

VA Phone Number

The VA has a national hotline, and the number is 1-800-827-1000. When you call, an automated voice will answer. Press “5” on your keypad to speak with a specialist so you can report your veteran’s death. 

The specialist will help you through the process of purchasing funeral plans and benefits. Phone lines are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST.

VA Mailing Address

You can write a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs. You’ll need evidence to confirm the veteran’s identity and proof you’re related to them.

Here is the address to write on the front of your envelope:

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims Intake Center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI, 53547-4444

You should receive a letter in the mail from the office outlining the next steps. The VA mentions that mailing is the slowest method of contact, so it may take longer for the office to halt any benefit payments the veteran receives on a regular basis.

VA Regional Office

Go to this link to find the nearest VA location. Enter the city, state, or postal code of your location. There’s no need to change the facility type or service type — click the blue “Search” button.

You’ll find VA offices within 20 miles of your location. From here, you can visit the company’s website, get directions on Google Maps, and copy the location’s phone number. Feel free to call, write to, or drive to the location to inform personnel of your veteran’s death.


Importance of Pre-Planning a Veteran Death

importance of pre-planning a veteran death

A death in the family can negatively affect parents, siblings, children, and other relatives. It can also spell uncertain times from both a supportive and financial standpoint. 

Here’s what to take into account when pre-planning a veteran’s death:

Financial Security

Pre-planning ensures veterans can see how much they need to spend on funeral costs and pay for the expenses in advance before costs go up. The VA office and local veterans charters can assist with paying for the funeral.

Guarantee Eligibility Of Benefits

Contacting agencies that handle finances and insurance for veterans' deaths now can give you more time to prepare. That way, you’ll be in the clear when it comes to survivor benefits, military honors, and funeral arrangements.

Funeral Services

Pre-planning for a veteran’s death will ensure the funeral is just as the veteran expected, with a proper ceremony and final resting place. A headstone and American Flag for the casket or urn will be provided free of charge from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Straightforward Funeral Planning

Allowing the veteran to decide on funeral arrangements while they’re still alive will avoid a lot of headaches and turmoil for surviving family members over many choices, from the casket to the burial plot.

Have Military Documentation Ready

The last thing you need is to race against the clock to find all the paperwork you need to help your family qualify for benefits and memorial services. 

While you have access and possession of your documents, count on Trustworthy to keep online versions of each document on file and ready to share with agencies when the inevitable arrives.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What benefits am I entitled to as the next of kin of a deceased veteran?

If you’re the spouse, child, or parent of a deceased veteran, you may be entitled to financial aid, health care, and life insurance. These benefits include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), housebound benefits, death pensions, death gratuities, and aid & attendance benefits.

How do you honor dead veterans?

There are many ways to honor deceased veterans. Family members can show appreciation by participating in local Veterans Day events, such as memorials or parades.

You can also volunteer at a veterans organization to support living veterans in your area, such as raising funds. And, of course, display the American flag proudly where you live or work to pay respect to all veterans.

What is the death benefit for a military veteran?

Survivors of current or former members of the Armed Forces who died on active duty receive a $100,000 death gratuity from the Department of Defense. This gratuity is an immediate payment to the deceased veteran’s family and is not affected by any tax deductions. The gratuity is a fixed amount regardless if the military member dies while on active duty or with honorable veteran status.

Can I get reimbursed if I already paid for a veteran’s funeral?

After reporting a veteran’s death to the VA, the office will cover all or most of the funeral costs. Funerals are often arranged within a week or two after the veteran’s death, so if you already arranged and paid for funeral arrangements, you will get a reimbursement for a portion of your funeral costs, with certain limits.

How can I cope with the grief of losing a veteran loved one?

There is no right or wrong way to handle the loss of a beloved family member. Losing a military spouse or family member can be an extremely stressful and emotional experience. 

Ways to cope include asking for support from friends and family, maintaining a healthy well-being by eating right and staying in shape, and finding special ways to remember your loved one through memorials or partaking in veteran outreach events.

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