Veteran Benefits Resource Guide
Philadelphia VA Medical Center- 3900 Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Philadelphia Vet Centers:
801 Arch Street, Suite 502, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-627-0238; Fax: 215-597-6362
101 E. Olney Avenue Suite C-7, Philadelphia, PA 19120
Phone: 215-924-4670; Fax: 215-224-4105
Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs): Veterans Service Organizations are non-government organizations that advocate for and assist Veterans in the larger community. A directory of all VSOs is available at www.va.gov/vso
Three of the largest VSOs are Disabled American Veterans (www.dav.org), the American Legion (www.legion.org), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (www.vfw.org). Visit their national web sites to find local contacts. Other VSOs serve Veterans who have traditionally been underrepresented, for example, the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans and the National Association for Black Veterans (www.nabvets.com).
VA Contracted Nursing Homes:
Meadowview Rehab & Nursing Center: 9209 Ridge Pike, Philadelphia, PA (610) 825-6560
Town Manor West: 205 E Johnson Hwy, Norristown, PA (610) 275-6410
Ambler Extended Care: 32 S. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, PA (215) 646-7050
Fairview Care Center-Paper Mill: 850 Paper Mill Rd, Glenside, PA (215) 233-0920
Centennial Village: 4400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA (215) 477-1170
The VA also has their own nursing home on site across from the VA Medical Center.
Philadelphia Veterans Comfort House: 4108 Baltimore Ave, Phila., PA 19104, 267-292-2052. Provides housing for those veteran patients undergoing treatment for serious medical issues. Also, offers shelter for homeless veterans.
VA Benefits Hotline- Burial, Death Pension, Dependency Indemnity Compensation, Direct Deposit, Directions to VA, Benefits Regional Offices, Disability Compensation, Disability Pension, Education, Home Loan Guaranty, Medical Care, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment 1-800-827-1000.
VA National Call Center for Homeless Veterans 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838)- Homeless Veterans or Veterans at-risk for homelessness can access toll-free, 24/7 trained counselors to assist with information and referral to VA Medical Centers, federal, state and local partners, community agencies, service providers and others in the community.
Basic Eligibility-A person who served in the active military and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable may qualify for VA health care benefits. Reservists and National Guard members may also qualify if they were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a Federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty.
Minimum Duty Requirements: Veterans who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans discharged for hardship, early out or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
To apply for enrollment and benefits, complete VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits, which may be obtained from any VA health care facility or regional office, online or by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387). Once enrolled, Veterans can receive health care at VA health care facilities anywhere in the country.
Local VA Death Benefits questions (Philadelphia) – Contact the Details Clerk at 215-823-5800 X 6337.
Veterans discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and service members who die while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, as well as spouses and dependent children of Veterans and active duty service members, may be eligible for VA burial and memorial benefits. The Veteran does not have to die before a spouse or dependent child for them to be eligible.
Active duty for training, by itself, while serving in the reserves or National Guard, is not sufficient to confer eligibility. Reservists and National Guard members, as well as their spouses and dependent children, are eligible if they were entitled to retired pay at the time of death, or would have been upon reaching requisite age.
VA’s National Cemetery Scheduling Office (866-900-6417) or local national cemetery directors verify eligibility for burial. A copy of the Veteran’s discharge document is usually sufficient to determine eligibility. In some instances, a copy of the deceased’s death certificate and proof of relationship to the Veteran (for eligible family members) may be required.
Under Section 2411 of Title 38 of the United States Code, certain otherwise eligible individuals found to have committed federal or state capital crimes are barred from burial or memorialization in a VA national cemetery, and from receipt of government-furnished headstones, markers, burial flags, and Presidential Memorial Certificates.
More information on the full range of VA burial/memorial benefits may be received by calling 1-800-827-1000, or visiting www.cem.va.gov
Burial in VA National Cemeteries
Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible Veterans, their spouses and dependents at no cost to the family and includes the gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine. For Veterans, benefits also include a burial flag and military funeral honors. Family members and other loved ones of deceased Veterans may request Presidential Memorial Certificates.
VA operates 131 national cemeteries- 71 are open for new casketed interments and 19 are open to accept only cremated remains. Burial options are limited to those available at a specific cemetery but may include in-ground casket, or interment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in ground or in a scatter garden. Contact the national cemetery directly, or visit www.cem.va.gov to determine if a particular cemetery is open for new burials, and other available options. The funeral director or the next of kin makes interment arrangements by contacting the National Cemetery Scheduling Office or national cemetery in which burial is desired. Gravesites cannot be reserved.
To schedule a burial: All discharge documentation should be faxed to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office 1-866-900-6417 (fax) and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117. If possible, the following information concerning the deceased should be provided when the cemetery is first contacted:
- Full name and military rank
- Branch of service
- Social security number
- Service number
- VA claim number, if applicable
- Date and place of birth
- Date and place of death
- Date of retirement or last separation from active duty
- Copy of any military separation document, such as DoD Form 214 (DD-214)
Requests for burial in a VA national cemetery cannot be made via the Internet.
Private Cemeteries: If burial is planned in a private cemetery and a Government headstone or marker will be requested for the Veteran’s grave, the family should complete VA Form 40-1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker for Installation in a Private or State Veterans’ Cemetery, in advance and place it with the Veterans military discharge papers for use at the time of need. To submit a claim for a headstone or marker, mail the completed VA Form 40-1330 and a copy of the Veteran’s military discharge document to Memorial Programs Service (41A1), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Rd., Quantico, VA 22134-3903. The form and supporting documents may also be faxed to 1-800-455-7143.
Before ordering, check with the cemetery to ensure the Government-furnished headstone or marker will be accepted.
Burial Flags: VA will furnish a U.S. burial flag to memorialize: Veterans who served during wartime or after 1/31/1955; OR, Veterans who were entitled to retired pay for service in the Reserve or National Guard, or would have been entitled if over age 60; OR, Members/former members of the Selected Reserve who served their initial obligation, or were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or died while a member of the Selected Reserve.
Reimbursement of Burial Expenses: VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the Veteran’s death is service-connected. The person who bore the Veteran’s burial expenses may claim reimbursement from VA.
In some cases, VA will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a Veteran whose death was service-connected to the nearest national cemetery with available gravesites. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims in service-connected death cases.
Burial Allowance: VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral allowance for Veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled if they were not receiving military retirement pay. Eligibility also may be established when death occurs in a VA facility, a VA-contracted nursing home or a State Veterans nursing home. If Veteran’s death was not service-connected, claims must be filed within 2 years after burial/ cremation.
Plot Allowance: VA will pay a $300 plot allowance when a Veteran is buried in a cemetery not under U.S. government jurisdiction if the Veteran was discharged from active duty because of disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; the Veteran was receiving compensation or pension or would have been if the Veteran was not receiving military retired pay; or the Veteran died in a VA facility.
The $300 plot allowance may be paid to the state for the cost of a plot or interment in a state-owned cemetery reserved solely for Veteran burials if the Veteran is buried without charge. Burial expenses paid by the deceased’s employer or a state agency will not be reimbursed.
Military Funeral Honors: Upon request, the Department of Defense (DoD) will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and presentation of the US flag and the playing of “Taps.” A funeral honors detail consists of two or more uniformed members of the armed forces, with at least one member from the deceased’s branch of service.
Family members should inform their funeral director if they want military funeral honors. The DoD (1-877-MIL-HONR) is used by funeral directors only to request honors. VA can help arrange honors for burials at VA national cemeteries. VSOs may help provide honors. For more information, visit www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Survivors Assistance (OSA) assists survivors with benefits assistance. OSA monitors VA’s delivery of benefits to survivors, makes appropriate referrals to VA offices for survivors seeking benefits such as, but not limited to, education assistance, home loan guaranties, health care insurance and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). OSA maintains a Web site, www.va.gov/survivors, to help survivors identify resources that may be available to them.
Health Care Benefits: Under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), certain dependents and survivors can receive reimbursement for most medical expenses – inpatient, outpatient, mental health, prescription medication, skilled nursing care and durable medical equipment.
Eligibility: To be eligible for CHAMPVA, an individual cannot be eligible for TRICARE (the medical program for civilian dependents provided by the Department of Defense) and must be one of the following: The spouse or child of a Veteran whom VA has rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability; OR, The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran, who died from a VA-rated service-connected disability, or who, at the time of death, was rated permanently and totally disabled; OR, The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died on active duty service and in the line of duty.
A surviving spouse under age 55 who remarries loses CHAMPVA eligibility on midnight of the date of remarriage. He/she may re-establish eligibility if the remarriage ends by death, divorce or annulment effective the first day of the month following the termination of the remarriage or Dec. 1, 1999, whichever is later. A surviving spouse who remarries after age 55 does not lose eligibility upon remarriage.
For those who have Medicare entitlement, CHAMPVA is secondary payer to Medicare. For additional information, contact the VA Health Administration Center, CHAMPVA, at 1-800-733-8387 or visit the VA website.
Many VA health care facilities provide services to CHAMPVA beneficiaries under the CHAMPVA In-house Treatment Initiative (CITI) program. Contact the nearest VA health care facility to determine if it participates. Those who use a CITI facility incur no cost for services; however, services are provided on a space-available basis, after the needs of Veterans are met. Not all services are available at all times. The coverage of services is dependent upon the CHAMPVA benefit coverage. CHAMPVA beneficiaries who are covered by Medicare cannot use CITI.
VA Veteran Centers provide bereavement counseling to all family members including spouses, children, parents, and siblings of service members who die while on active duty. This includes federally activated members of the National Guard and reserve components. Bereavement services may be accessed by calling (202) 461-6530.
Bereavement counseling is available through any Veterans Health Administration medical center to immediate family members of Veterans who die unexpectedly or while participating in a VA hospice or similar program, as long as the immediate family members had been receiving family support services in connection with the Veteran’s treatment.
In other cases, bereavement counseling is available to the Veteran’s legal guardian or the individual with whom the Veteran had certified an intention to live, as long as the guardian or individual had been receiving covered family support services.
Bereavement counseling is of limited duration and may only be authorized up to 60 days. However, VA medical center directors have authority to approve a longer period of time when medically indicated. Contact the VA Social Work Department at the closest VA Medical Center to access bereavement counseling services.
Community Counseling Resources:
Operation Home & Healing: Provides specialized individual, couple and family therapy to Veterans and their loved ones. Fees are based on ability to pay and in some cases at no cost. (215) 382-6680
www.afterdeployment.org (help with common deployment related problems)
www.suicideoutreach.org (fast, free anonymous help for servicemembers in crisis)
www.t2health.org (National Center for Telehealth and Technology- Department of Defense)
www.veteranshomecare.com – (help with personal care, homemaker services, companionship, transportation)