Veterans Benefits and Body Donation

A flag on a grave at a veterans national cemetery.

Donating to a program like MedCure can be a simple way for veterans to make their final arrangements as easy as possible on the loved ones they leave behind. MedCure offers a no-cost end-of-life option where dedicated individuals can continue to contribute to society even after passing. Donors to our program are matched with physicians and researchers who are hard at work developing new ways to save and extend lives for civilian and military families alike.

How Body Donation Works

Upon acceptance into our program, at the time of final transportation MedCure will cover all associated expenses for the donation. This includes transportation arrangements, one certified copy of the death certificate, cremation, and either the return of the cremated remains to the family or a scattering at sea.

Donors don’t just save money, they also make a lasting contribution to science and medicine. MedCure matches donations to researchers working on treatments and cures for diseases that affect millions. We have also worked with investigators who develop the equipment and technologies that protect service members in combat. A donation to MedCure can contribute to thousands of future lives saved, improved, or made longer through better medical science.

MedCure is pleased to be able to offer this option for veterans as an alternative to the end-of-life provisions offered by government programs like the US Veterans Administration.

How Veterans Death Benefits Work

The VA rewards former service members with a few key benefits, including a death benefit. This is money the VA gives out to reimburse a veteran’s end of life costs. Many vets count on this money to cover all their final expenses. Unfortunately, the limits on this benefit can be an unwelcome surprise for them and their families.

The first thing to understand is that the VA only pays a death benefit in certain circumstances. In order to qualify, a veteran must have retired from the military after serving 20 years (eligible for a pension), be receiving a VA disability benefit, or pass in a VA facility. If none of these is true, the vet is only entitled to burial in a national cemetery. No money will be paid to the vet or their family.
National cemetery burial is open to any veteran who served at least 2 years and was not dishonorably discharged. The service includes the cost of the plot, opening and closing the grave, and maintenance. A headstone and a memorial flag are also provided. The family of a veteran who also qualifies for the death benefit payment will receive $2000 only if the cause of death was connected to military service. If the death was not service related, the VA pays just $300.

Vets who choose national cemetery burial take much of the financial burden off their loved ones. Some big expenses still aren’t covered, though. The VA doesn’t pay for transportation. The family must pay for funeral home services, embalming, and the purchase of a casket. These are the charges the VA money is meant to cover, but it often falls short. Transport from the place of death to a funeral home can easily cost more than $300 by itself. Caskets start at around $1000. That’s a lot to worry about for family members who have just lost a loved one.

Second, veterans should remember the VA death benefit works by reimbursement. This means that the veteran or their family must pay the bills and then submit receipts to the VA to be paid back. This can put a strain on many people. The average private funeral in the US costs more than $7000. That’s a lot of money out of pocket before the benefit payment comes through.

Vets who don’t want to be buried in a national cemetery can get an additional $780 to pay for burial somewhere else. Unfortunately, that’s less than the cost of a plot alone in many parts of the country. The VA will still provide a grave marker at no cost, but the family will have to pay any fee the cemetery charges to install it.

How They Can Work Together

Choosing MedCure’s whole-body donation program as a no-cost end of life option can free veterans and their families from worries about final costs. For veterans who made such valuable contributions to this country in life, whole-body donation can offer one last opportunity for service that will memorialize them long after death.