"No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks." James Allen
Smith Lund Mills Funeral Chapel honors the Veteran. While we completely understand that a deceased Veteran is an important member of a client's family, please be assured that we too consider that individual to be our Veteran as well. Because of that connection, we take personal pride and special care in saluting him or her for their honorable, dedicated and faithful service to the United States.
Our owner, Marc Lund, and several of our staff members are also Veterans. We have employees with family members who have served in the military. So, we understand and appreciate the personal sacrifices and dedication individuals and families experience to defend this nation. That's why we take great pride in being able and available to provide assistance to Veteran's families during this difficult time. Our goal is to help families receive the service and recognition, honor and benefits their Veteran has more than earned and to which they are so justly entitled.
Every Veteran and their family deserve the best service and recognition available to commemorate their life and career and, yes, their sacrifices too. So, as a matter of policy, we furnish additional related services and products to do exactly that. To accomplish this goal, we provide or coordinate access to the following:
- Burials or urn placement at the national cemetery of your choosing.
- Arrange for military honors at the funeral or memorial
- Apply for Veteran's burial benefits.
- Veteran's burial flag and flag case. We provide a complimentary Vinyl protective cover for all Veterans flags given to the family. We also have a selection of hardwood flag cases available to choose from.
- Service Branch decals and flag adornment décor for the funeral coach. This is used during the funeral procession to the cemetery. This is an additional way to honor a Veteran for their service and it signals to the community that a Veteran has passed.
- Fallen Soldier and Cemetery Cross Display.
- Individually designed custom shadow boxes. Based on a Veterans service record, this is an excellent way to commemorate a Veterans service to his country.
- Military Archivist on staff. We are privileged to have a Retired Naval Officer on staff who volunteers his time researching on behalf of Veteran's families. Helping the family understand the acronyms and terminology that are listed on the discharge papers and other relevant documents regarding a Veteran's military history. This position can also assist families in requesting misplaced military records and medals for their Veteran.
- Presidential Memorial Certificates.
At Smith Lund Mills we understand that Military Honors for many families are an essential part of a funeral or memorial service. As standard practice we can arrange for military honors from the appropriate branch of the service to perform honors. These honors can include playing taps and "Presentation of the Colors" to the next of kin at the funeral or memorial service.
The Veterans branch of service typically sends a detachment of no more than four (4) individuals and they do not carry firearms to perform 21 gun salutes.
Additionally, we can contact and coordinate with the local V.F.W. Chapter to perform their funeral service ceremony, play 'taps' and provide a 'Firing of the Volleys', i.e. a 21 gun salute. They can work in conjunction with the military or work independently. Both are fitting tributes to those who have served.
Working with the Veterans Administration
An important document for families to locate prior to calling for an arrangement appointment is the Veteran's discharge papers commonly known as the DD-214. Once a copy of this form is in our records, Smith Lund Mills Funeral Chapel will take care of all the arrangements and paperwork necessary for all relevant Veteran's benefits.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Unless the Veteran died while on active duty, the amount of funds available from the government to assist families with final funeral, transportation and burial expenses is significantly less than what many citizens normally believe is due them. Further, federal regulations change, sometimes often, and those changes may not be adequately disseminated in a timely manner so that the general public is kept up-to-date with the current federal policies and procedures. Rest assured, with Smith Lund Mills will help you navigate your way and help you determine eligibility for benefits that have been earned.
Benefits that are available for the Deceased Veteran
Burial in a National Cemetery
Veterans and armed forces members who die on active duty are eligible for burial in one of over one hundred Veterans Administration (VA) national cemeteries. An eligible Veteran must have been discharged or separated from active duty under honorable or general conditions and have completed the required period of service. Persons entitled to retired pay as a result of 20 years creditable service with a reserve component are eligible. A U.S. citizen who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in a war also may be eligible. Spouses and minor children of eligible Veterans and of armed forces members may also be buried in a national cemetery, even if they predecease the Veteran. In certain circumstances, parents of the Veteran may also be eligible.
Today, there are three National Cemeteries in Oregon: Willamette, Eagle Point and Roseburg National Cemeteries. Burial or placement of cremated remains in National Cemeteries can only be requested at the time of death and cannot be reserved in advance. National Cemeteries do not conduct burial services on Saturdays, Sundays or national holidays.
VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible Veteran's burial and funeral (or cremation) expense when the cause of death is not service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: a burial and funeral expense allowance, and a plot or interment allowance. A single payment is made when the cause of death is service-related.
VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001, or up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 11, 2001. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.
VA will pay up to $700 toward burial and funeral expenses for deaths on or after October 1, 2011 (if hospitalized by VA at time of death), or $300 toward burial and funeral expenses (if not hospitalized by VA at time of death), and a $700 plot-interment allowance (if not buried in a national cemetery). For deaths on or after December 1, 2001, but before October 1, 2011, VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance. For deaths on or after April 1, 1988 but before October 1, 2011, VA will pay $300 toward burial and funeral expenses (for Veterans hospitalized by VA at the time of death).
An annual increase in burial and plot allowances for deaths occurring after October 1, 2011 begins in fiscal year 2013 based on the Consumer Price Index for the preceding 12-month period.
Effective October 1, 2012, the maximum burial and funeral allowance of $700 increased to $722.
- 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, AND
- The Veteran died because of a service-related disability, OR
- The Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
- The Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay, OR
- The Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under 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 entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date or death, OR
- The Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased Veteran who served honorably in the U. S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a Veteran's military service to his or her country. The VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization for Veterans discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and certain former members of the Selected Reserves. Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral or memorial service. When there is no next-of-kin, the VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it.
Headstones, Markers and Medallions
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.
For eligible Veterans that died on or after Nov. 1, 1990 and whose grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone, VA may also furnish a headstone or marker to supplement the grave or a bronze medallion to be affixed to the privately purchased headstone.
Flat markers that are granite, marble, or bronze, and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains. The style chosen must be permitted by the officials in charge of the private cemetery where it will be placed.
When burial or memorialization is in a national cemetery, state Veterans' cemetery, or military post/base cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin or authorized representative.
Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a Government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a national cemetery.
Staff at national cemeteries are responsible for setting the headstone or marker at no cost to the applicant.
Headstones or Markers for Memorial Plots
To memorialize an eligible Veteran whose remains are not available for burial, VA will provide a plot and headstone or marker in a national cemetery. The headstone or marker is the same as that used to identify a grave except that the mandatory phrase "In Memory of" precedes the authorized inscription. The headstone or marker is available to memorialize eligible Veterans or deceased active-duty members whose remains were not recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and scattered.
The memorial marker may be provided for placement in a cemetery other than a national cemetery. In such a case, the VA will supply the marker and pays the cost of shipping, but will not pay for the plot or the placement of the marker. Arrangements for setting a Government-furnished headstone or marker in a private cemetery are the applicant's responsibility and all placement costs are at private expense. Only a relative recognized as the next-of-kin may apply for this benefit.
Presidential Memorial Certificates
The Presidential Memorial Certificate is a parchment certificate with a calligraphic inscription expressing the Nation's recognition of the Veteran's service. The Veteran's name is inscribed and the certificate bears the signature of the President. Certificates are issued in the name of honorably discharged, deceased Veterans. Eligible recipients include next of kin, other relatives and friends.
The award of a certificate to one eligible recipient does not preclude certificates to other eligible recipients. The Veteran may have died at any time in the past.
Why Smith Lund Mills Funeral Chapel?
Applying for Veteran's benefits can be complicated, confusing and time consuming. We understand how that system works and perform these tasks regularly. That is why we are here...to help you.
Please contact us at 541-942-0185 to arrange a personal appointment so that we can sit down with you and discuss your situation, eligibility, ideas, wishes and possible benefits that you or your Veteran is entitled to.
Very nice people, very professional, very efficient & organized."