Preparing for the passing of a loved one, or even oneself, can be a difficult and confusing time. The following informs you of what you may need to do, and when, to ensure your survivors have the information and documents needed to obtain the benefits for which they may be entitled.
For the Veteran, when discussing your final wishes with your loved ones:
• Discuss your military service with your family and if possible, locate copies of your military separation document(s), such as your DD214.
• Document your spouse’s and your marital histories. This information may be needed if your spouse applies for VA benefits after your passing.
• Discuss your final wishes regarding your remains. If you wish to be buried in a national cemetery after your passing, consider applying now for pre-need burial eligibility.
For the Veteran’s family, as the Veteran is approaching end of life:
• Speak to the Veteran’s doctor about how to obtain copies of medical records before and after the Veteran’s passing, in case they may be needed in the future.
• Discuss with the Veteran where and when they have received treatment for any medical conditions which you believe may have been incurred in, or exacerbated by, their military service.
• If you believe the Veteran may be entering into their period of final illness, begin keeping a record of any medical expenses related to that final illness.
• If the Veteran wishes to be interred in a national cemetery, locate their pre-need burial approval (if they applied), or clarify their wishes as to where they would like be interred.
For the Veteran’s parents, spouse, or dependent children, after the Veteran’s passing:
Consider if you wish to apply for VA Survivors Pension or DIC.
• If you have a medical condition, disease, or injury which necessitates the aid and attendance of another person in performing your activities of daily life, or are housebound, have your physician complete a statement outlining your medical condition.
• If you believe the Veteran’s death was related to a condition incurred during military service, or exacerbated by military service, obtain copies of any private medical records from the Veteran’s physician (VA hospital records and military medical records can be obtained by VA).