Social Security Benefits

Busch Funeral and Crematory Service Preparation Guide

The following checklist is designed to help you file for your Social Security benefits correctly so that prompt payments may be made.

Eligibility:

The deceased must have credit for work covered by Social Security for a period ranging from 1 1/2 to 10 years (depending on his or her age at death).

Who may receive monthly benefits?

  • A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled), or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
  • A divorced widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) if the marriage lasted 10 years,  or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
  • Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full time).
  • Children who were disabled before reaching 22, as long as they remained disabled.
  • Dependent parent or parents 62 or older.

Lump-Sum Payment Upon Death:

A one-time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above. The lump-sum death payment (LSDP) is paid in the following priority order to:

  • A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death.
  • A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
  • A child or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.

Applying for benefits:

You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office or, if you wish, you may apply by telephone. Just dial the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 and the operator will schedule an appointment for you or arrange for the local Social Security office to take your claim by telephone.

Social Security Teleservice - Doing Business by Telephone:

You may call Social Security toll-free, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The number to use is 1-800-772-1213.  To speak with a representative, call between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm on regular business days. At other times  and on weekends and holidays, you may leave a message and they will call you back, in most cases, the next business day.

You may use the toll-free number to make an appointment either in a Social Security office or telephone to apply for benefits, transact other Social Security business, or just ask questions.

Veteran's Benefits

What is a VA Burial Allowance?

A VA burial allowance is a partial reimbursement of an eligible veteran's burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service-related, the reimbursement is generally described as two payments: (1) a burial and funeral expense allowance, and (2)a plot interment allowance.

Who is Eligible?

You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:

  • You paid for a veteran's burial or funeral AND
  • You have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased veteran's employer AND
  • the veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:

  • the veteran died because of a service-related disability OR
  • the veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death OR
  • the veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation but decided not to reduce his/her military 
retirement or disability pay OR
  • the veteran died in a VA hospital or while in a nursing home under VA contract, or while in an approved state nursing home.

 How Much Does VA Pay?

Service-Related Death:

VA will pay up to $1,500 toward burial expenses for deaths prior to September 10, 2001. For deaths on or after September 11, 2001, VA will pay $2,000. If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of moving the deceased may be reimbursed.

Non-service Related Death:

VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses, and a $150 plot interment allowance for deaths prior to December 1, 2001. The plot-interment allowance is $300 for deaths on or after December 1, 2001. If the death happened while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under contracted nursing home care, some of all of the costs for transporting the deceased’s remains may be reimbursed.

How Can You Apply?

You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Allowance. You should attach proof of the veteran's military service (DD 214), a death certificate, and copies of funeral and burial bills you have paid.

Related Benefits

  • Burial in VA National Cemeteries
  • Headstones and Markers
  • Presidential Memorial Certificates
  • Burial Flags

For More Information Call Toll-Free 1-800-827-1000 Or visit this Web Site: http://www.cem.va.gov