Post # 1
Im sure most of you know the respect for our veterans has been deteriorating for a while now. However, i never thought it would get this bad.
My uncle died suddenly recently. No explanation for it, the doctors think it was a heart attack or something but they dont really know yet. He was a United States Veteran, served in the military for more than 20 years, graduated with honors, had tons of medals, fought in two wars. He was a veteran and thoroughly earned his military burial in the veteran’s cemetary. Since he has been told his whole life that the military would pay for his burial, he didnt buy life insurance, not seeing any need for it.
Well apparently, the military decided to stop paying for veteran burials. So now, the man is dead and his wife has no way to pay for him to be buried. He still has a plot in the cemetary, that much is guaranteed, but she cant pay for him to actually be buried in it.
From what she told my mom, she is considering having him cremated and burying the urn in his plot with the headstone since the price is a lot lower for that. I just cant believe that after all he gave for his country, they cant even do him the honor of a proper burial.
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@MrsWinTraining2014: Whoa. I had no idea they changed that rule! I’ll have to make sure my retired Navy stepdad is aware of it.
Another example is during the last election I worked on the Presidential campaign and we had a retired veteran on the team. She set up a table at an intersection with a sign saying Vets for Obama and waved at passing cars. One car pulled up and rolled down their window so she walked over to chat with them. They hurled expletives at her and threw a handful of change at her. Whether you like the candidate or not this woman fought for our freedom in Iraq. She deserves respect, not being pelted with dimes and nickels.
Post # 4
Veterans Affairs (Both the VA specifically and offers given to veterans) have declined rapidly over the last 20 years or so. Partially because it’s so expensive (There are a lot of veterans out there) and partially because they can get away with it. My dad had a heart attack and was insured through the VA. They refused to pay for his heart surgery because he went to the wrong hospital (My father called them the morning of his heart attack asking them what to do. They told him to go to the nearest hospital, and he did.) When we decided to fight it, they told him that the woman he spoke with didn’t exist. The hospital they wanted him to go to was three hours away and his surgeon stated that he would have died on the trip down there if he didn’t go via ambulance (My mom and I drove him in.)
I’m sorry about your uncle. I’m sorry that your family has to deal with all this. I wholeheartedly agree that these men and women should be taken care of. They offered their lives, the least the VA/Military/Government can do is provide them with some necessities outside of the military.
I am sending you and yours the best of wishes.
Post # 5
@MrsWinTraining2014: I’m very sorry for your loss and for what is happening with your Uncle’s arrangements.
My father served during Vietnam (he enlisted in the Marines immediately after finishing High School). I fully understand how badly Veterans can be treated, especially Veterans of my father’s era. Soldiers of today’s wars still aren’t treated as well as they should be (and as a country, we need to do better at that), but it is miles better than the treatment soldiers of Vietnam received upon coming home.
That said, I was never aware that the Military covered funerals for Veterans. I always just assumed that the families and Insurance covered those costs – my Dad has always told us that when he dies the Insurance should be more than able to cover the funeral, pay off the mortgage, and take care of mom for a little bit. I figured that Active Duty soldiers would be covered, but not necessarily Veterans.
Is it different if you make the Military your career? Dad only served 4 years in the Corp and an additional 6-8 years in the National Guard.
Post # 6
I just looked this up. They still pay towards a burial but the benefits are limited. I believe the burial is covered, but it doesn’t say anything about a funeral. Contact the VA for help.
Post # 7
Post # 8
@MrsWinTraining2014: Are you positive he doesn’t have VA life insurance from when he joined the military? I worked as a paralegal in trusts and estate for a few years and every single veteran was issued a policy when they joined. It’s possible that it was paid up years ago and no one remembers that he had it.
It would be VGLI insurance and I believe you can look it up by social security number. Or, you can file a claim under the social security number and they will come back and let you know whether a policy exists. I don’t believe it is required to have the policy number.
I’m so sorry you are all going through this. I completely agree that veterans benefits are severely underfunded and are always getting cut.
Post # 9
@aggiemae: his wife has been talking to the VA. they wont give her any help at all. he was told his whole life that when he died, the military would pay for his burial. They paid for my grandpa’s burial back in 1998, not his funeral but they did pay for the opening and closing of the grave. i dont know if it was because of a different branch (grandpa was a marine, uncle was an army soldier) but the military came out to my grandpa’s funeral and they played the taps and shot the 21 shots and had the flag on his casket, the whole nine yards (and he wasnt active duty either). My uncle isnt getting any of that.
Post # 10
Are you sure? I’m not aware of any changes. I have a meeting this Thursday with a VA officer, so will definitely ask.
Post # 11
It looks like there are different tiers of compensation for servicemen who died in service, veterans who died of a service-related injury, etc, and certain qualifications have to be met for reimbursement.
This explains it better, but I don’t know how up to date it is:
ETA: Here are the requirements:
- 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, AND
- 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 while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
- The Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR
- The Veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date or death, OR
- The Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
NOTE: VA does not pay burial benefits if the deceased:
- Died during active military service, OR
- Was a member of Congress who died while holding office, OR
- Was a Federal prisoner
Post # 12
I won’t even get started on how our government treats vets and active military, it’s disgustingly appalling. (someone high up on TV the other night compared VA benefits to welfare, grrrrrrrrr)
Contact your local VFW, they sometimes have funds for helping with such things. If not contact the Fisher foundation. They have all kinds of resources for vets as does the Gary Sinise foundation.
Post # 13
I’m sorry for your family’s loss.
His widow should get in touch with the local American Legion. They might know what to do. They might be able to help her.
Sometimes it’s the Legion that plays taps and does the gun salute at a veteran’s funeral. My husband’s dad passed away a couple years ago and the American Legion did that. He hadn’t even been a member of the Legion and he had been drafted, but they want to bury a Vietnam vet with honors.
It may have been the local Legion at your grandfather’s funeral.
Also, I know she probably doesn’t want to nit-pick at this time but was it in any of his service contracts that the military would pay for funeral and burial expenses?
Post # 14
@CorvusCorax: thanks, ill tell her.
thanks for all of the help, everyone
Post # 15
@Hyperventilate Yeah my dad was told basically the same thing, he had to have a bypass done because he had a “widow maker” and his cardiothorasic (sp?) surgeon was surprised he had lived this long with a major artery being over 90% clogged. So obviously it had to be done VERY fast so they did it. After the fact they were told VA wouldn’t cover it because he didn’t go to the VA hospital (over an hour away). Now my poor parents are stuck paying off his open heart bypass and he has almost died 3 times in the last year (yep this was ALL within a year) so their hospital bills are well above $100k and they are both retired and obviously my dad will never be able to work again.
Situations like this piss me off, especially when veterans deserve SO much better than they are getting. I hope your dad is recovering!
@MrsWinTraining2014 I’m sorry to hear about your uncle and how shitty the VA is being to your aunt. I really hope she finds some way to pay for his burial. It’s just so sad.
Post # 16
@MrsWinTraining2014: That makes me sad to hear that there is stress over his burial. That’s so unfair.
If a donation online thing can be set up, I would like to make a small donation towards it. I think Ive seen something along those lines on caringbridge.com.