Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Planning your legacy: VA benefits for LGBTQ veterans and servicemembers
2020-05-27

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Dear community:

The Department of Veterans Affairs ( VA ) stands strong in supporting our LGBTQ servicemembers and veterans. As members of the LGBTQ community, we understand you may face many challenges. The last thing you need to be stressed about is end of life decisions. A good way to ensure that you and your loved ones will be prepared is to settle your affairs ahead of time, through the VA National Cemetery Administration ( NCA ) Pre-Need Eligibility program.

Talking about dying is quite uncomfortable for most people, but it is a part of life and should be included in your legacy planning. All active duty members and Veterans, and in some cases, reservists are eligible for a free burial in a VA national cemetery. With the Pre-Need program, you can verify your eligibility now, instead of leaving the burden to your loved ones in the event of your death.

The number-one benefit of the Pre-Need program is that it provides peace of mind. To be eligible, an official document, for example, the DD-214, showing the character of your service is anything other than dishonorable, is required to apply. Reserve and National Guard members will have to show that they served some time on active duty other than for training ( such as a deployment ) or that they served long enough to earn a retirement pension. Once your eligibility is confirmed, the VA maintains a record of your status in a database. A formal letter is sent to you and should be kept in a safe place along with other documents that your family will need when you die, like your will and life insurance information. And make sure your loved ones know your burial preferences so that in the event of death they will know what to do.

Keep in mind that many family members have trouble locating discharge documents at the time of their veterans' deaths. Very often, families are unaware of the VA benefits a veteran has earned and spend thousands of dollars on headstones and burial plots when they could have received these items for free had they known ahead of time. When your family tries to establish your eligibility after you die and they lack the proper documents, it can sometimes result in a non-eligible decision or with little or no time to provide the necessary documentation. So, it's very important to discuss this benefit with your family and apply for it while you are still alive.

A servicemember or veteran will receive the following burial benefits at no cost to the family: a gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, grave liner, and perpetual care of the gravesite. Memorial benefits include a government furnished headstone or marker, burial flag and Presidential Memorial Certificate. Military honors are requested through the Department of Defense. Your spouse, minor children and unmarried adult children who are legally dependent on you are also eligible for interment in the same grave or columbarium niche as you are, whether they die before or after you do, also at no charge.

Generally, a funeral director will assist with all this whole process, but you can access the Planning Your Legacy booklet at www.cem.va.gov/cem/docs/factsheets/Planning_Legacy_Booklet.pdf for more information.

In addition, if your spouse is also a servicemember or Veteran, he or she may be eligible for the same benefits on his or her own merit. This means, if requested, your spouse will be buried in a separate plot, either side by side with you in the same cemetery or in a different plot in a different cemetery.

For servicemembers and veterans who choose to be interred in a private cemetery, the family can get a government furnished headstone or marker at no cost ( though the cemetery may charge for mounting it ). If buried in a private cemetery with a private headstone, you are eligible for a free bronze medallion to be attached to the headstone or marker showing you are a Veteran and your branch of service.

Please note the Pre-Need eligibility only applies to VA national cemeteries. If you want to be buried in a state or tribal Veterans cemetery, check the state VA website you want ahead of time since some state Veterans cemeteries have residency requirements and other rules.

While families can always apply for the benefit at the time of death, VA encourages taking advantage of Pre-Need program now to ensure everyone is prepared. For more information about Pre-Need eligibility, visit https://www.cem.va.gov/pre-need/.

Last, the VA established the Veterans Legacy Memorial ( VLM ) website www.va.gov/remember for family, friends, and visitors to leave "Tributes" or comments on a veteran's memorial page. The VLM is, by design, easy-to-use and navigate and is the country's first digital platform dedicated entirely to the preservation of the memory of the already 3.7 million Veterans interred in VA national cemeteries and it is continually updated.

For questions about VA burial benefits, please call the NCA Office of Engagement and Memorial Innovations at 202-632-8035 and reference this article.

Thank you for your service!

National Cemetery Administration

Office of Memorial Innovations and Engagement


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

OP-ED: Ruth Bader Ginsburg bent the moral arc toward justice 2020-09-21 - Like so many Americans across the country, I, too, am mourning the news that U.S. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died due ...


Gay News

LETTER Culture and diversity 2020-09-21 - Dear editor: I want to respond to the Windy City Times article of Aug. 19 titled "Organization leaders discuss board diversity strategies," ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN True stories, trans tales and more in new picture books 2020-09-16 - New books can be a delightful relief in these days of quarantine. Here are some of the many new LGBTQ-inclusive picture books that ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS Get involved in Michigan now 2020-09-15 - You probably feel anxious and frustrated by the political climate and the risk that the Republicans will cheat their way to victory or ...


Gay News

Reeling 2020 reviews 2020-09-12 - For complete festival information and to buy tickets, visit http://reelingfilmfestival.org/2020. Ratings are on a **** scale but I'm a tough grader, so nothing ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT The common thread of LGBTQ+ stigma and mental health 2020-09-02 - The relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and mental health has always varied from country to country. But when religion enters the conversation, a ...


Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Wear a mask 2020-09-02 - Dear editor: Wear a mask. Illinois made great strides fighting COVID-19, but it will take sustained effort and discipline to keep the ...


Gay News

My case for being in Congress 2020-09-01 - "I already told my family that if I catch this virus — God forbid — I'm not going to the hospital. I'll pop ...


Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR A word, please... 2020-09-01 - Dear editor: We just finished reading your WCT's interview with Jay Manuel ( in the Aug. 5 issue ), and we have ...


Gay News

LETTER What's in a name? And striving for racial equality 2020-08-19 - What's in a name? Dear community: The growing debate over the name change of Boystown is reflective of a broader cultural ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.