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Who Is Eligible for Military Funeral Honors? – Military Matters

who is eligible for military funeral honors

Military funeral honors are an important and meaningful part of military protocols. It is hosted by the military for eligible veterans without charge and is actually mandated by law. However, if you have not spent time researching about this, you may not be aware of who is eligible for military funeral honors and whether all veterans get a military funeral.

Don’t worry! Our article here will provide you with all the information you need on military funeral honors eligibility. We will also answer other relevant questions. So, make sure you read until the end! Specifically, we will address:

  • Who qualifies for military honors at a funeral?
  • Do all veterans get a military funeral?
  • What are the standard military honors?
  • What are the full military honors?
  • How to verify funeral honors eligibility?
  • How to request funeral honors?

Who Qualifies for Military Honors at a Funeral?

military-funeral-honors-eligibility

As said earlier, military funeral honors are rendered, by law, for eligible veterans. Here, eligibility refers to active-duty military members, those in the selected Reserves, former military members who were not discharged under dishonorable conditions, and ex-military members who enlisted for at least one term or a period of initial obligated service (Reserves), and were not discharged under dishonorable conditions.

Do All Veterans Get a Military Funeral?

As such, not all veterans get a military funeral. If you are not a veteran in one of the categories mentioned above, you will not be rendered a military funeral.

What Are the Standard Military Honors?

who-qualifies-for-military-honors-at-a-funeral

The standard military honors for eligible veterans include a casket team, a firing party, and a bugler. Depending on the branch of service and the veteran’s NCO grade, a caisson may also be used.

In addition, you will receive memorial items: headstones, markers, medallions, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, which looks like this:

This certificate is an engraved paper signed by the current President and presented to honor the memory of deceased veterans. It was originally initiated in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, is authorized in Section 112, Title 28 of the United States Code, and administered by the VA — Department of Veterans Affairs.

Note: You can apply for a PMC on behalf of the deceased veteran by completing this VA Form (40-0247). To complete the request, you will need to turn in the veteran’s death certificate and military discharge documents (Send only copies. Do not send original documents!)

Headstones, Markers, and Medallions

Eligibility Requirements

  •  Headstones

Veterans & Active-Duty Service Members

One of these must be true:
Enlisted Personnel (Served before Sep. 7, 1980) – Died on/after Nov. 1, 1990, with a grave marked with a privately bought headstone

– Buried in an unmarked grave

Officers (Served before Oct. 16, 1981) – Died on/after Nov. 1, 1990, with a grave marked with a privately bought headstone

– Buried in an unmarked grave

Enlisted Personnel (Served after Sep. 7, 1980) – Died on/after Nov. 1, 1990, with a grave marked with a privately bought headstone

– Buried in an unmarked grave

Plus one of these:

– Had at least 24 months of steady active duty

– Died during active duty service

Officers (Served after Oct. 16, 1981) – Died on/after Nov. 1, 1990, with a grave marked with a privately bought headstone

– Buried in an unmarked grave

Plus one of these:

– Had at least 24 months of steady active duty

– Died during active duty service

National Guards & Reservists

One of these must be true:
National Guards – Was eligible for retirement pay (At the time of death)

– Served for the needed period or in federal status

Reservists – Was eligible for retirement pay (At the time of death)

– Was called to active duty (Not for training purposes)

  • Medallion

Veterans & Active-Duty Service Members

One of these must be true:
Enlisted Personnel (Served before Sep. 7, 1980) – Served for at least one active duty day after Apr. 5, 1917

– Buried with a privately bought headstone in a private cemetery

Officers (Served before Oct. 16, 1981) – Served for at least one active duty day after Apr. 5, 1917

– Buried with a privately bought headstone in a private cemetery

Enlisted Personnel (Served after Sep. 7, 1980) – Had at least 24 months of steady active duty

– Buried with a privately bought headstone in a private cemetery

Officers (Served after Oct. 16, 1981) – Had at least 24 months of steady active duty

– Buried with a privately bought headstone in a private cemetery

Note: Any members who died during active duty service is automatically eligible

National Guards & Reservists

One of these must be true:
National Guards – Was eligible for retirement pay (At the time of death)

– Served for the needed period or in federal status

Reservists – Was eligible for retirement pay (At the time of death)

– Was called to active duty (Not for training purposes)

Commissioned Officers

Commissioned Officers – Served in active Public Health Service on/after Apr. 6, 1917

You can apply on behalf of the deceased veteran’s behalf if you are a(n):

  • Family member
  • Personal representative
  • Representative of a veterans service organization
  • Employee of a state/local government serving veterans
  • Person legally responsible for the deceased memorialization

You can apply

  • Online https://eauth.va.gov/accessva/
  • By Fax 800-455-7143
  • By Mail 5109 Russell Road Quantico, VA 22134-3903

Burial Flag

This is the United States flag draped on the deceased veteran’s casket and used in the folding ceremony at the military funeral. It will be given to the “next of kin” to preserve or, by request, be placed with an urn at the cemetery to honor the veteran. You can also choose to donate the flag to a national cemetery. In that case, your flag will be flown on patriotic holidays.

Eligibility Requirements

The deceased recipient must have (One of the below):

  • Served during war
  • Died on active duty service after May 27, 1941
  • Served after Jan. 31, 1955
  • Left service before Jun. 27, 1950 after serving one enlistment or sustaining a disability
  • Served the Selected Reserved or forces in the Philippines and died after Apri. 25, 1951

Request a flag by filling the VA Form (27-2008) and submitting it to a VA regional office or the US post office.

What Are the Full Military Honors?

Full military honors can include an escort platoon, with size varying by the rank of the veteran, a military band, and a colors team. Personnel who have died from wounds caused by the enemy are entitled to full military honors.

How to Verify Funeral Honors Eligibility?

The best way to verify eligibility is through the DD-214 and you can request this from the National Archives. If you don’t have that form, then try to submit any other discharge document proving the deceased were not discharged dishonorably.

How to Request Funeral Honors?

You can request this through your funeral director, who will then contact the military to arrange it in detail.

Conclusion

Now, you have all the information required to properly honor your veteran and his or her service. We hope that you have found this article on who is eligible for military funeral honors useful. Leave any questions you have or thoughts you would like to share in the comments below!

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