When a Veteran Dies


1. Contact your funeral director for burial arrangements

2. Contact the Pastor of your church.

3. Furnish the funeral director a copy of the veteran's Military Discharge Certificate or Report of Seperation (DD Form 214), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Claim Number (if known) and the veteran's Social Security number.

4. The funeral director will usually apply any amount allowed from the Veterans Administration toward burial expenses.

5. The funeral director should apply for the U.S. Flag to drape the casket. If not, contact the local postmaster with proof of military service and a copy of the Death Certificate.

6. When the veteran is a member of the American Legion, the Post Commander should be contacted for the ritual service (firing squad, if the post has such an organization) and casket bearers, if desired. If it is wish of the family to have the U.S. Flag presented to the next-of-kin during the grave site service, the Post Commander should be informed.

7. The American Legion Post Service Officer, a County Service Officer, or one of the American Legion regional Service Officers located in Buffalo or New York City (also see paragraph 10) will assist you or inform you of the benefits to which you may be entitled through the Veterans Administration such as:

    1. Dependency & Indemnity compensation (DIC) for spouse or dependent children
    2. Death pension for spouse or dependent children.
    3. National Service VA Life Insurance claims.
    4. Veterans Administration burial benefits:

      1. Burial Benefit for veterans receiving compensation or pension, or who would be receiving compensation or pension but for the receipt of military retirement, or who die in a VA Medical Center.
      2. Burial allowance for indigent veterans who die as a result of service connected disabilities.
      3. Burial allowance for indigent veterans whose remains are unclaimed.
      4. Burial Plot Allowance.
      5. Headstone, grave markers or niche markers.

8. Important documents to have available when applying for assistance:

    1. Honorable Discharge from the Armed Forces or Report of Military Separation (DD Form 214).
    2. Record of Marriage.
    3. Birth Certificates of dependent children.
    4. Death Certificate of the veteran and any previous spouse.
    5. Veteran's Social Security number and Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) claim number (file number).
    6. Divorce Papers (if applicable).
    7. Adoption Papers for dependent children (if applicable).
    8. Your annual family income figures: wages, retirement, interest, etc.

All documents listed above may be copied, except for the DD 214 which must be a certified copy.

9. When contacting your Social Security Office the following information will be needed:

    1. Discharge or DD Form 214.
    2. Record of Marriage.
    3. Proof of age & birth of children.
    4. Divorce Papers (if applicable).
    5. Adoption Papers for dependent children (if applicable).

10. County Benefits: a spouse may qualify for certain Veterans Benefits if living with the veteran at the time of death. Benefits vary with each county in the State of New York. Check with the County Veterans' Service Agency, if your county has one. Most county agencies employ Accredited Representatives of The American Legion.

11. Insurance: A death certificate is always required to receive payment. An American Legion Service Officer may offer assistance in supplying and completing form for G.I. Insurance. Also many New York State Legionnaires carry Life Insurance on individual basis under the following plans:

American Legion Life Insurance
Marsh Affinity Group Services
1776 West Lakes Parkway
Wes Des Moines, IA 50398

Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
Continental Casualty Co. (CNA)
Attn: Insurance Administrator
110 Westwood Place - Suite 100
Bentwood, TN 37027



VA Claim (File) Number ________________________________________________

Nat'l Service (VA) Life Ins. Number _______________________________________

Social Security Number ________________________________________________

Military Service Number ________________________________________________

Branch of Military Service _______________________________________________

Military Active duty dates from ___________________ to ______________________


Note: "When A Veteran Dies", Nassau County Legionnaire, September 2014, Volume 90, No. 3, p. 4

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