When a family loses a veteran family member, they quickly turn to a veterans’ service organization for assistance. There are many veterans in our community that do not belong to the Veterans of Foreign Wars or other veterans’ service or fraternal organization. We understand and try to help where we can.
The most sought after document is the Report of Separation from active military service. The official name is DD Form 214, Armed Forces of the United States Report of Transfer or Discharge. It provides evidence of service, length of service, awards, and character of service. It is used for veterans benefits, including funeral flag and honors.
- Families are encouraged to locate this form and other important papers for aging veterans. If not found in family papers, a replacement can be ordered from the National Archives. Learn more
Funeral Home Information
The Department of Veterans Affairs has an on-line resource. It is called Funeral Director Resources. This resource guide contains links to many VA sites with full information as to requirements and links to required forms. Learn more
Family Burial Needs Information
For families, if you need a funeral burial flag and find that you can not locate a “DD 214″ and and a funeral home tells you they need it for a flag, there is a solution.
The VA’s Funeral Director Resource guide also contains a lot of information on burials and flags, as well as information on a veteran’s entitlement. In an emergency and absent a DD Form 214, the government will issue a burial flag. Here is the rule:
- “If the claimant is unable to provide documentary proof, a flag may be issued when a statement is made by a person of established character and reputation that he/she personally knows the deceased to have been a veteran who meets the eligibility criteria.” Source: VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes
- This application also contains rules for use of the flag and flag folding instructions to assist in the proper rendering of funeral honors to a deceased veteran. Download form
Veteran Final Needs Information
No matter what your age is, you should be thinking about final needs. Make things easier on your family and yourself. There is peace in knowing that you have located and set aside essential items that will assist your family in an emergency. This is not just for final needs. It will help in an emergency where you may need VA care and your family needs to provide proof of eligibility. Veterans are encouraged to review the Funeral Director Resources website and to review the many topics. Each has a link to other VA-sponsored websites and valuable information. You will quickly see the value of having your veteran’s proof of eligibility, a personal will, a living will, insurance and other important papers up-to-date and ready for use.
Headstones are available from the government at no cost for the grave of a veteran. There are several types of markers and stones. There is even a medallion for use on a family memorial that does not now include a government-provided stone or marker. For more details and how to order, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemeteries Administration