THE FUNERAL – Your first decision may be the most difficult: burial or cremation. Local funeral homes offer both services. Choose your own funeral home or cremation company. They will help you with all the details, such as viewing, religious service, obituary, funeral notice, pallbearers, flowers, music, and shipping, if desired.
NATIONAL CEMETERIES IN FLORIDA – Go to www.cem.va.gov to locate the closest national cemetery to you.
VA BURIAL BENEFITS – Contact VA Regional Office at (800) 827-1000. Note: Additional death benefits may be available for survivors. Questions about eligibility should be made through the VA Regional Office or a County Veteran’s Service Officer.
CERTIFIED COPIES OF DEATH CERTIFICATES – Copies of the death certificates are usually available within a week to ten days following a death. Your funeral director will advise you on how many to order and will obtain them for you. You may also obtain them from the Health Dept. of Vital Statistics, 4175 East Bay Drive, Largo, FL 33764, (727) 507-4330 ext. 1200. You will need a death certificate for cars, residences, mobile homes (double-wide requires two), stocks and bonds, etc., private pensions, VA insurance (2), and bank accounts (some will accept a certified copy).
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION – Your funeral director should notify Social Security of the death. Death benefits from Social Security are payable to the surviving spouse or dependent children ONLY.
BENEFITS FOR SURVIVORS OF VETERANS
Benefit eligibility for survivors of Veterans is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, family members who usually are eligible for benefits include spouses, children, and in some cases, parents. A surviving spouse remains eligible for most monetary survivor benefits as long as they remain unmarried, or remarry after the age of 57. Children may be eligible for monetary benefits until age 18, or 23 if they are attending an approved school. Also, disabled surviving children may be eligible for long-term benefits. Call 800-827-1000 or go to www.vba.va.gov/survivors.
WILLS, POWER OF ATTORNEY, GUARDIANS, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE – Power of Attorney and Guardianship cease at the time of death. If there is a will, the personal representative will be in charge of funeral arrangements. Contact your attorney for advice.
INSURANCE – You can now call toll-free if you have any questions or need any service performed on your VA insurance policy. Call 800-669-8477. All insurance companies require a certified copy of the Death Certificate.
SAFE DEPOSIT BOX – Safe Deposit Boxes may be examined by anyone whose name and signature appear on the signature card. You may remove any or all items from the box. If you are not on the authorized signature card, you will need a Court Order to open the box.
VA-ISSUED PROSTHETIC EQUIPMENT – Prosthetic devices such as hearing aids, wheelchairs and hospital beds are issued to our Veterans. To arrange for pickup of equipment, call the hospital’s Prosthetic Department.
Information specific to FLORIDA RESIDENTS:
DONATION OF REMAINS TO SCIENCE– In Florida, remains may be donated to the State Anatomical Board for medical/dental research purposes. VA Burial Benefits may be applied to the cost of required arterial embalming and transportation of the remains to either the Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, or the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL.
Florida National Cemeteries:
Barrancas National Cemetery
80 Hovey Road
Pensacola, Florida 32508
4083 Lannie Road
Jacksonville, FL 32218
10000 Bay Pines Boulevard
Bay Pines, Florida 33744
S. Florida Nat’l Cemetery
6501 South State Road 7
Lake Worth, FL 33449
6502 Southwest 102nd Avenue
Bushnell, Florida 33513
St Augustine Nat Cemetery
104 Marine Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Sarasota National Cemetery
9810 State Road 72
Sarasota, FL 34241
(941) 922-7200 or (877) 861-9840
You can receive free pamphlets from your closest Dignity Memorial funeral home. Use them to educate Veterans' families. You can also download the pamphlets below by clicking on them.