Much of today’s freedoms can be attributed to the sacrifices of our military members and their families. If you recently lost a loved one who served in the military, the topic of VA benefits may be of great interest to you. Soldiers and other military personnel qualify for a variety of benefits and services that can ease the financial burdens that many children, parents, and spouses face in the wake of losing a loved one. In this article, we take a closer look at VA benefits after death to help you determine whether you and your family are eligible for counseling, educational assistance, fiduciary services, monetary benefits, or other services.

Burial Benefits: According to the National Cemetery Administration, deceased members of the military are eligible for a gravesite in any of their 135 national cemeteries. This burial benefit includes the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or grave marker, and a flag, as well as a presidential memorial certificate at no cost to the family. There are also benefits available to spouses and dependents that wish to be buried with the veteran. Veterans and their families can also qualify for burial and plot interment allowances without the need to submit a claim. Eligible surviving spouses or families are paid automatically upon notification of the veteran’s death.

Compensation: There are a variety of tax-free benefits available to the surviving families of servicemembers. If your loved one died while on active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty training, or from service-related disabilities, you may qualify for the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefit. The Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) tax-free benefit is paid to surviving spouses and parents based on the need for aid and attendance. Veterans Affairs also provides adapted housing grants, service-disabled veterans’ insurance, and much more.

Education and Training: Surviving spouses and children of servicemembers qualify for educational assistance and training opportunities. If the veteran died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition, you are eligible for benefits that can be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training. The VA provides up to 45 months of educational benefits, but some beneficiaries may be eligible for up to 81 months of GI Bill benefits. There are also scholarships, service incentives, and special restorative training.

Home Loans: The VA can help servicemembers, veterans, and surviving spouses become homeowners through a variety of benefits and other housing-related programs through private lenders. These loans can be used for a variety of purposes including buying, building, repairing, or adapting a home for your own personal occupancy.

Life Insurance: There are a variety of VA insurance benefits you or your family may qualify for, including the Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI), Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (FGLI), Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI), and more.

Alleviate many of the financial burdens that you and your family face by exploring the many VA benefits after death. You can visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs online to learn more.