Title 38 Part 3 → Subpart B → §3.1702
Title 38 → Chapter I → Part 3 → Subpart B → §3.1702
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR
Title 38 Part 3 → Subpart B → §3.1702
§3.1702 Persons who may receive burial benefits; priority of payments.
(a) Automatic payments to surviving spouses of eligible deceased veterans. (1) On or after July 7, 2014, VA may automatically pay a burial benefit to an eligible veteran's surviving spouse, whether or not previously established as a dependent spouse on the deceased veteran's compensation or pension award, when VA knows of or is informed of the existence of the surviving spouse, can establish the surviving spouse's relationship under §3.204 (when applicable), and is able to determine burial benefits eligibility based on evidence of record at the time VA updates its computer system to reflect the veteran's date of death.
(2) VA may grant additional burial benefits, including the plot or interment allowance, reimbursement for transportation, and the service-connected burial allowance under §3.1704, to the surviving spouse or any other eligible person in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section and based on a claim described in §3.1703.
(b) Priority of payments—claims received on or after July 7, 2014. (1) Except for claims a State, or an agency or political subdivision of a State, files under §3.1707, Plot or interment allowance for burial in a State veterans cemetery or other cemetery, or §3.1708, Burial of a veteran whose remains are unclaimed, VA will pay, upon the death of a veteran, the first living person to file of those listed below:
(i) His or her surviving spouse;
(ii) The survivor of a legal union between the deceased veteran and the survivor that is not covered by paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section. For purposes of this paragraph, legal union means a formal relationship between the decedent and the survivor that
(A) Existed on the date of the veteran's death,
(B) Was recognized under the law of the State in which the couple formalized the relationship, and
(C) Was evidenced by the State's issuance of documentation memorializing the relationship;
(iii) His or her children, regardless of age;
(iv) His or her parents or the surviving parent; or
(v) The executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased veteran. If no executor or administrator has been appointed, VA may pay burial benefits based on a claim filed by a person acting for such estate who will distribute the burial benefits to the person or persons entitled to such distribution under the laws of the veteran's last State of residence.
(2) In the case of a veteran whose remains are unclaimed, VA will pay the person or entity that provided burial services and transportation subject to the limitations prescribed in §§3.1708 and 3.1709.
(3) VA will pay burial benefits to a single representative of the categories in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. VA will not divide applicable burial benefits among claimants; it is the responsibility of the recipient to distribute benefits as may be required.
(c) Priority of payments—claims received before July 7, 2014.
(1) Claims for burial allowance may be executed by:
(i) The funeral director, if entire bill or any balance is unpaid (if unpaid bill or the unpaid balance is less than the applicable statutory burial allowance, only the unpaid amount may be claimed by the funeral director); or
(ii) The individual whose personal funds were used to pay burial, funeral, and transportation expenses; or
(iii) The executor or administrator of the estate of the veteran or the estate of the person who paid the expenses of the veteran's burial or provided such services. If no executor or administrator has been appointed then by some person acting for such estate who will make distribution of the burial allowance to the person or persons entitled under the laws governing the distribution of interstate estates in the State of the decedent's personal domicile.
(2) Claims for the plot or interment allowance (except for claims filed by a State or an agency or political subdivision thereof), under §3.1707 may be executed by:
(i) The funeral director, if he or she provided the plot or interment services, or advanced funds to pay for them, and if the entire bill for such or any balance thereof is unpaid (if the unpaid bill or the unpaid balance is less than the statutory plot or interment allowance, only the unpaid amount may be claimed by the funeral director); or
(ii) The person(s) whose personal funds were used to defray the cost of the plot or interment expenses; or
(iii) The person or entity from whom the plot was purchased or who provided interment services if the bill for such is unpaid in whole or in part. An unpaid bill for a plot will take precedence in payment of the plot or interment allowance over an unpaid bill for other interment expenses or a claim for reimbursement for such expenses. Any remaining balance of the plot or interment allowance may then be applied to interment expenses; or
(iv) The executor or administrator of the estate of the veteran or the estate of the person who bore the expense of the plot or interment expenses. If no executor or administrator has been appointed, claim for the plot or interment allowance may be filed as provided in paragraph (c)(1)(iii) of this section for the burial allowance.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 2302, 2303, 2307)
Cross Reference: §3.1(i) for the definition of “State”.
[79 FR 32658, June 6, 2014, as amended at 83 FR 39888, Aug. 13, 2018]