Talking about end-of-life planning is never easy, but it’s essential. VA provides a variety of benefits and services to help Veterans and their loved ones prepare. From life insurance to burial costs, learn how you can plan ahead with VA benefits.
Provide financial protection
VA offers life insurance to help Veterans prepare for the future and protect those who matter most. Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife) offers guaranteed acceptance whole life coverage up to $40,000 for Veterans with service-connected disabilities. With Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI), you can convert and keep your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage amount after you leave the military. Learn about the two programs and find the right coverage for you.
Prepare vital documents
In the event you’re not able to make your end-of-life care wishes known, it’s important to have them written down so someone else can represent them on your behalf. To help with this, VA offers Advance Care Planning (ACP), in which a Veteran can clarify their preferences for future health care based on personal values and beliefs. As part of ACP, you can also nominate an individual to advocate for your care preferences and make decisions on your behalf, if you’re unable to do so.
Get started on your plans for the future with help from VA. You can talk to your primary care team member to determine what your first step should be, meet with a social worker to discuss advance care planning and answer your questions, or participate in Advance Care Planning via Group Visits (ACP-GV) where you and your loved ones can talk with other Veterans and caregivers about how to plan for the future.
Take care of surviving family
Eligible dependents of a Veteran who died from a condition related to service or who died in the line of duty may be eligible for survivor benefits, such as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit that some surviving family members may qualify for. When applying for DIC, include the Veteran’s DD214 and death certificate indicating the cause of death.
Other benefits available to survivors include:
- Survivors Pension, which offers monthly payments to qualifying spouses and unmarried dependent children of wartime Veterans who meet certain income and net worth requirements.
- Month of Death Benefit, which is the final monthly payment of any VA compensation or pension benefits the Veteran was receiving.
- Accrued Benefits, which are unpaid benefits the Veteran was due before passing.
- Burial Allowance, which are monetary benefits to help pay for the Veteran’s burial and funeral costs.
Burial and memorial benefits
VA burial and memorial benefits preserve and honor a Veteran’s legacy. Veterans and their families can apply in advance to find out if they can be buried in a VA national cemetery by submitting an online pre-need eligibility application.
Spanning a network of 155 VA national cemeteries and over 120 VA-funded state, territorial and tribal cemeteries, the burial and memorial benefits available to Veterans include a designated final resting place, headstone or marker, burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate and perpetual care of the gravesite.
Keep it all together
Create a folder that has a copy of your DD214, Advance Care Plan, life insurance policy and pre-need burial eligibility decision letter. Ensure loved ones know where to find it and what actions they need to take after your death. Having important VA documents organized and easily accessible to your loved ones will relieve some stress after you pass.
For more information on planning for the future, visit VA.gov/plan-ahead.