What We Do
We truly believe that the men and women who have answered our nation’s call are deserving of special attention and consideration. They have proven their devotion to their fellow citizens and to a grateful nation, and we owe them the same respect and devotion in return. This is why Wappner Funeral Directors offers the most comprehensive veteran options to honor the life of our veterans.
We are caring professionals known for our compassion. We can arrange for special military observances to honor your loved one’s service to our country.
Military detachments will provide a color guard, rifle volley, and taps. This service is offered to any honorably discharged veteran, regardless of rank. Although this service typically takes place at the cemetery, it can also be done at a church or the funeral home.
For Families of Veterans, Wappner Funeral Directors Can:
• Provide applications for all veteran benefits
• Provide coordination of military honors
• Present an official United States Flag
• Assist with military personalization
• Assist with documentation through the Veterans Administration
Our professional staff takes pride in coordinating all the details involved in honoring the veteran in your life with the appropriate ceremonies. We have contacts with all branches of the military so the proper arrangements can be made easily and effectively.
Facts and Information Regarding Benefits
It’s important to understand your benefits, and how to obtain them. Unfortunately, a recent survey shows that 60 percent of veterans mistakenly believe the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, known as the “VA”, pays funeral, cremation, and cemetery expenses for all veterans. The same percentage also believe caskets are provided free of charge to all veterans. In reality, neither the VA nor the various branches of service provide a free casket for a deceased veteran unless death occurs while on active duty. Also, reimbursement for funeral or cremation expenses is limited and certain restrictions apply.
This guide is a brief list of the important facts and information veteran’s families will need to know. Naturally, if you have more questions, we suggest you contact us or the VA directly.
VA Burial Allowances
Benefits made available to veterans through the VA are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran’s burial and funeral costs and do not cover all the funeral or cremation arrangement costs.
Who is Eligible?
How much will the VA Pay?
You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:
• you paid for a veteran's burial or funeral, AND
• you have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased veteran's employer, AND
• the veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
• the veteran died due to a service-related disability, OR
• the veteran was receiving a VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
• the veteran was entitled to receive a VA pension or compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay, OR
• the veteran died while hospitalized by the VA, or while receiving care under a VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
• the veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR
• the veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found to be entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date of death, OR
• the veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
Standard guidelines are provided as an overview, but only the VA can rule on your exact benefits.
How much will the VA Pay?
Service Related Death: VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the veteran's death is service related. If the veteran is also buried in a VA national cemetery, the VA will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a veteran to the national cemetery nearest the home of the deceased that has available gravesites.
Non-Service Related Death: VA will pay an allowance up to $300 for burial and funeral expense as well as an additional $300 plot/interment allowance when burial occurs in a cemetery that is not under U.S. Government jurisdiction. If the death occurred while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the veteran’s remains may be reimbursed.
If the veteran is buried without charge for the cost of a plot or interment in a state-owned cemetery reserved solely for veteran burials, the $300 plot allowance may be paid to the state. Burial expenses paid by the deceased's employer or a state agency will not be reimbursed.
In order to determine the final reimbursement amount, an “Application for Burial Benefits” (VA Form 21-530) must be submitted within two years from the date of the veteran’s permanent burial. If your family does not have VA Form 21-530 at the time of death, Wappner Funeral Directors will be glad to provide you with one.
You will need documentation to verify military service. If you don’t have such paperwork in your files, it’s important to gather it together. A “Report of Separation from the Armed Forces of the United States” also known as “discharge papers”, is normally required to verify military service. In most cases, this report is theDD Form 214. If your family does not have a DD Form 214 at the time of death, Wappner Funeral Directors will be glad to help guide you in obtaining the form.
To obtain or amend a copy of your military service record and/or your Official Military Personnel File (DD-214, OMPFs), please visit the website for the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
If you have been discharged from military service, your personnel files are stored at NARA, the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.
NARA has an online document request service called eVetRecs which allows you to request copies of military personnel records online. This system provides a customized order form to request information from your or your relative's military personnel records.
Questions about your military records may also be sent to:
National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
VA National Cemetery Eligibility Requirements
Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies while on active duty or any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable is entitled to burial in a VA national cemetery. Persons entitled to retired pay as a result of 20 years creditable service with a reserve component may also be eligible. Under certain conditions, the un-remarried surviving spouse and minor children of an eligible person are also entitled to this benefit.
Burial in a VA national cemetery includes:
• An assigned gravesite (if space if available)
• Opening and closing of the grave
• A grave liner for casketed remains
• A government headstone or marker
• Perpetual care at no cost to the family
Cremated remains are buried or inurned in VA national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
It is important to note that you may not reserve space in a VA national cemetery ahead of time, since VA national cemeteries only allow arrangements to be made at the time of a death. You should note that burials in VA national cemeteries usually are not conducted on weekends and, depending on the VA cemetery, there may be a waiting period before burial can occur.
Full eligibility requirements may be found on the VA’s website.
What Are Your Options for Veteran Cemeteries?
National Veterans Cemeteries in Ohio
• Ohio Veterans Home Cemetery (Sandusky, OH)
Cremation allows for as many options as traditional burial. A memorial service with military honors can be held at our Chapel, your local church, or any other location of significance to your family. Our professional staff can coordinate any type of special memorial tribute to fully honor your loved one. Depending on your family’s preference, the urn may or may not be present at the ceremony. Oftentimes, the family prefers a funeral service, including the presence of a casket, with cremation to follow.
Headstones, Markers, and Medallions
The VA provides headstones and markers for thecurrently unmarked graves of veterans anywhere in the world and for eligible dependents of veterans buried in national cemeteries, state veteran’s cemeteries, or the military section of private cemeteries.
Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble, upright granite and upright marble types are available to mark the grave in a style consistent with the place of burial. Niche markers also are available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.
Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, the year of birth and death, and branch of service. Optional items that also may be inscribed at VA expense are: military grade; rank; war service such as World War II; month and day of birth and death; an emblem reflecting one's religous beliefs; valor awards; and the Purple Heart. Additional items may be inscribed at private expense.
When burial is in a national cemetery or state veteran’s cemetery, the headstone marker is ordered through the cemetery. When burial occurs in a private cemetery, the headstone marker must be applied for from the VA service center or from the funeral home. It is shipped at government expense. The VA, however, does not pay the cost of placing the headstone or marker on the grave. To apply, you must complete VA Form 40-1330 and forward it to: Director, Office of Memorial Programs (403A), National Cemetery System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC 20420. Wappner Funeral Directors can assist with obtaining your marker.
Additionally, the VA is making available a new medallion to be affixed to an existing privately purchased headstone or marker to signify the deceased's status as a veteran. If requested, the medallion will be furnished in lieu of a traditional Government headstone or marker for veterans that died on or after November 1, 1990, and whose grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker. Appropriate affixing adhesive, instructions and hardware will be provided with the medallion.
This benefit is only applicable if the grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker. In these instances, eligible veterans are entitled to either a traditional Government-furnished headstone or marker, or the new medallion, but not both.
Forms; assistance; or information regarding checking the status of your headstone, marker, or medallion are available online at the VA website or you may call the Director, Office of Memorial Programs at 1-800-697-6947.
A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted. The VA will also issue flags on behalf of a service member who was missing in action and later presumed dead. For your convenience, Wappner Funeral Directors will obtain your flag on behalf of your family’s veteran.
Presidential Memorial Certificates
Initiated in March 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, a “Presidential Memorial Certificate” is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged, deceased veterans. A “Presidential Memorial Certificate” must be requested; as with the flag, it is not an automatic offering. Eligible recipients, or someone acting on their behalf, may apply in person at any VA regional office, by U.S. mail, or by toll-free fax. More information on the Presidential Memorial Certificate can be found here as well as Form 40-0247. We can assist your family in obtaining this certificate.