Filing death benefits for veterans can ease future burden - FOX34 Lubbock

Filing death benefits for veterans can ease future burden

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

A veteran or their family can ensure that their loved one is buried with military honors, the 21 gun salute, the taps playing or even with the bag pipes these traditions are possible as long as the proper paperwork is filed with time. Having the right documents in order will make planning less stressful.

"As terrible as it sounds I would start today again nothing moves fast," said Greg Gittner, director of Lubbock's VetStar "When I ordered my whole personnel records it took almost a year to get every piece of paper from the national archives."

Gittner suggest every veteran have a copy of his or her DD214. Its a document that details each veterans military career, once requested it takes between 6 to 8 weeks to get in the mail. Along with other discharge paper work, Gittner recommends requesting all military records.

"Down the road there maybe once you pass opportunities for the government to provide payouts or benefits," said Gittner. "You may be entitled you may not be entitled depending on what documentation you can prove."

A new set of rules went into effect just a couple weeks ago. If a veteran's in a VA hospital when they die, the government will pay up to $796 toward burial and funeral expenses. As far as burial in a national cemetery, the VA will pay $2,000 and cover some or all of the cost of transportation.

Marriage licenses and divorce decrees are critical documents, not having them could stall the process. As far as entitlements and future burial sites are concerned, Gittner recommends having a will in place. It can help determine what kind of military service the veteran prefers.

Survival benefits can also depend on the type of discharge the veteran had. The spouse of the veteran or a legally designated family member can help file and request documents. VetStar specializes in this kind of work and is always willing to help








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