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If you’re a veteran’s surviving family or caregiver, you may be eligible for expanded burial benefits that help cover certain funeral expenses. But scammers may contact you, saying that for a fee they can do the paperwork and guarantee what benefits you’ll get. Other scammers pretend to be from the VA. But the VA will never call, text, or email out of the blue and ask for your credit card or bank account information.

Making funeral arrangements is never easy. What can you do to avoid possible pitfalls?

  • Check the VA’s list before discussing your benefits with anyone. Applying for VA benefits is free. If you want help with applying, use VA-accredited agents, Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), or accredited attorneys. Confirm that the person helping you is accredited by the VA and check VA’s searchable list of approved individuals.
  • If possible, research your eligibility ahead of time and make a plan. VA burial benefits can help you arrange for burial or a memorial service in a VA national cemetery. The VA has information about eligibility and how to apply. The National Cemetery Administration (part of the VA) has a Resource Guide and video with more details.
  • You have rights when shopping for funeral services, whether you’re using VA benefits or not. The FTC enforces the Funeral Rule which allows you to compare prices among funeral homes, to choose only those goods and services you want or need, and to pay only for those you select. To get help thinking through the steps, and knowing what funeral homes are required to do, check out Shopping for Funeral Services by Phone or Online. If one funeral home won’t answer your questions or give you the information you asked for, look somewhere else. And then tell the FTC:

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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James Edward Hensley
November 13, 2023

When a Veteran dies that person's next-of-kin survivor should be awarded $250 thousand. That amount to be split between the VA and Department of Defense.

When Members of the U.S. Congress die, next of kin receive an amount equal to the annual salary of the Member. This has never been placed up for vote by U.S. Citizens. It was done by "Continuing Resolution" without consent (VOTE) of U.S. Citizens.

Congress also pays the entire funeral expenses of the deceased Member as well as transportation, lodging, and board for the family members attending the burial services. This has never been put to a vote of the people.

Judy L.
November 14, 2023

In reply to by James Edward Hensley

Why would the amount be split between VA and DOD if going to the same person? Cn you explain what "Continuing Resolution" is?

Sharon M. Grzyb
November 13, 2023

Thank you for this and please thank all of our veterans for their service 🙏🙏