Funeral program serves veterans for less money

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By Joe Casper

Proudly they’ve served with dignity and respect for our nation and for all of us. Whenever and wherever the need, our proud and brave veterans have served with honor and courage. God bless our veterans for their dedication and service.

In a time of need, when a veteran sadly suffers a “funeral emergency” in their family, it’s a time to give back. That’s exactly what some funeral service companies have done. A special “Veterans Service Burial Program” for eligible veterans, their spouse and minor or disabled dependents has been created in various areas throughout the country.

This is a program of thanks from the funeral service families for our veterans. The cost for a veteran’s funeral varies greatly, but could start as low as $2,000 for a complete military honors service.

There is the option of getting complete funding assistance for the $2,000.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides the graveside, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker and flag. However the veteran and their family are on their own for providing the remainder of the funeral service expenses. As veterans and family members check around, they find that these funeral expenses can be very costly.

As for the VA burial benefits allowance of $300 (The VA grave allowance is only available if burial takes place in a private cemetery), the deceased veteran must meet one of three conditions:

•Must be receiving a pension from the military;

•Must be receiving disability from the military;

•Must die in a VA facility. If the veteran doesn’t meet one of these three conditions then there is no VA burial allowance.

Such programs generally include: Removal charges from anywhere, at any location in Massachusetts; processing all required veteran’s certification and permits; metal casket; transportation to the Massachusetts VA National Cemetery; honor guard for the Mass. veteran; and professional services of the funeral director and assistants. When doing your research, make sure there are no membership fees or added charges.

Check the funeral homes in your area to see if they offer such a program for veterans and their families.

Joseph Casper is with Casper Funeral Services in Boston, which offers a military honors funeral service at a significantly reduced rate. He can be reached at 800-314-1890 or email him at [email protected] or go online to http://www.casperfuneralservices.com/. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.