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Veterans Overview

VETERANS


The basic Military Funeral Honors (MFH) ceremony consists of the folding and presentation of the United States flag to the veterans' family and the playing of Taps. The ceremony is performed by a funeral honors detail consisting of at least two members of the Armed Forces.

The Funeral Honors rendered to you or your veteran will be determined by the status of the veteran.  The type of Funeral Honors may be Full Military Honors, 7 Person Detail or a Standard Honors Team Detail.

At least one of the funeral honors detail will be from the Armed Force in which the deceased veteran served.  Taps may be played by a bugler or, if a bugler is not available, by using a quality recorded version. Military Funeral Honor Teams may act as Pall Bearers if requested by the veteran/family.  


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Who is Eligible for Military Funeral Honors?


  • Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.
  • Former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

WHO IS not ELIGIBLE FOR MILITARY FUNERAL HONORS?


  • Any person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a bar to veteran's benefits. 
  • Any person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service. 
  • Any person discharged from the Selected Reserve prior to completing one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service for reasons other than a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
  • Any person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

How do I establish Veteran Eligibility?


The preferred method is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.  If the DD Form 214 is not available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service can be used.  The DD Form 214 may be obtained by filling out a Standard Form 180 and sending it to:

National Personnel Records Center(NPRC)
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132

The Standard Form 180 may be obtained from the National Records Center or via the following web site: http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf

Is anyone else eligible to receive Funeral Honors?


Yes. Members of the Commissioned Officer Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as members of a Uniformed Service, are also eligible to receive funeral honors.

FOR NOAA PERSONNEL


Eligibility is established using NOAA Form 56-16, Report of Transfer or Discharge. If the family does not have a copy of the NOAA Form 56-16, it may by obtained by contacting the Chief, Officer Services Division, NOAA Commissioned Personnel Center at (301) 713-7715. or by writing:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
Commissioned Personnel Center 
Chief, Officer Services Division (CPC1) 
1315 East-West Highway, Room 12100 
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910


FOR PHS PERSONNEL


Funeral honors eligibility is established using PHS Form 1867, Statement of Service (equivalent to the DD Form 214).  If the family does not have a copy of the Statement of Service, it may be obtained by contacting the Privacy Coordinator for the Commissioned Corps at (240) 453-6041 or writing:

Division of Commissioned Personnel/HRS/PSC 
Attention: Privacy Act Coordinator 
5600 Fishers Lane 
4-36 
Rockville, Maryland 20857

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Department of Veterans Affairs Cover all funeral and cremation costs?

The burial benefits given by the Veterans Affairs to a deceased veteran come in different forms. Veterans and their surviving families may be qualified for financial benefits, honorary recognitions, unique funerary goods, and services. However, it is very imperative that these veterans’ benefits are fully understood because they may not cover the entire funeral costs of a veteran’s final arrangements.


What documents are needed to verify a Veteran’s Military Service?

A copy of the “Report of Separation” or also known as “discharge papers” is required for the verification of military service to determine the Veterans eligibility to claim their benefits. Most veterans who served the military onwards 1949 received DD Form 214 as from of their service.


Are Burial Flags need to be requested from the Department of Veterans Affairs?

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides free Burial Flag to drape the casket of an eligible veteran. Generally, the United States Flag is handed to the deceased veteran’s next of kin, and only one can be provided. A VA Form 27-2008 or known as “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” must be submitted together with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers to the nearest VA regional office and most U.S. Post Offices. Generally, Burial Flags are provided at burial ceremonies national cemeteries.


Do I need an appointment to schedule Military Funeral Honors Ceremonies?

Yes, an eligible veteran is entitled to receive military funeral honors ceremony upon the family’s request. This ceremony has been a tradition which is entitled “Honoring Those Who Served.” Includes detail of at least two uniformed military personnel, the playing of the taps, and lastly, presentation of the burial flag next of kin of the deceased veteran.


Are veteran’s caskets free?

No, the VA does not, nor any branches of the military provide free caskets for a deceased veteran. They will only provide free caskets for military personnel who died on active duty. Also, any type of funeral goods and services incurred from mortuaries must be paid privately.


What is a Presidential Memorial Certificate?

It is a program that President John F. Kennedy initiated in March 1962. It is a signed document given by the current president as proof of honorable discharge to deceased veterans. Certificates can be requested by sending VA Form 40-0247 and copies of the veteran’s discharge documentation and death certificate.


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