Posted: February 14, 2014
In recent weeks, NFDA has received several calls from members asking about whether transportation costs are reimbursable by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA has provided information that should answer most questions.
Are transportation costs for a Veteran from one state to another reimbursable?
Yes, depending on the circumstances. The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) authority to reimburse claimants for the costs of transporting a deceased veteran to the place of burial depends upon whether the veteran died of a service-connected disability or was in receipt of or entitled to disability compensation at the date of death, where the veteran died, and whether the veteran will be buried in a national cemetery.
For veterans who die of non-service-connected causes in a state, VA may reimburse a claimant for the cost of transporting the deceased Veteran to the place of burial, if, at the time of death, the Veteran was:
(Reference: 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.1600(c) and 3.1605(b).)
VA regulations identify examples of transportation items and services eligible for reimbursement. (Reference: 38 C.F.R. § 3.1606.)
VA is authorized to reimburse the costs of transporting a deceased Veteran for burial in a national cemetery if the veteran:
(Reference: 38 U.S.C. § 2308.)
When a veteran is buried in a national cemetery, VA's reimbursement is limited to the costs of transporting the veteran to the national cemetery nearest the Veteran's last place of residence at the time of death. (Reference: 38 U.S.C. § 2308.)
The nearest national cemetery is either a cemetery under the jurisdiction of VA's National Cemetery Administration or Arlington National Cemetery that:
The last place of residence is where the veteran lived at the time of death. The place of death is the place shown by the death certificate or other evidence of death.
Are the costs of transportation reimbursable to the funeral home or the family?
Under current regulations, (reference: 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.1600 – 3.1612), VA may pay monetary burial benefits, including transportation expenses, to the:
Can the funeral home charge families for these costs?
Whether a funeral home may charge a veteran's family for certain costs is not governed by VA law or regulations. We note, however, that Federal law prohibits funeral homes, or any entity, from charging families for assistance in submitting a claim for benefits to VA.
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