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Veterans Benefits

American Legion members

Let us assist you in reimbursement of burial expenses.
The experienced and knowledgeable staff at Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker is ready to assist families of veterans in beginning the application process for benefits. We work hand in hand with the State Department of Veterans Affairs Office in Madison to efficiently communicate information and send them paperwork so the process can begin. If the family is entitled to any compensation or monies, we work with the appropriate offices to ensure quick filing of these forms.

There are national and state benefits available for veterans. The benefits distributed are determined based on numerous criteria and oftentimes on a case by case basis. There are different benefits available to veterans depending on factors such as their place of death (at a Veterans hospital (VA) or not), whether they are being buried at a veteran's cemetery or a private cemetery and their time and role while in the military. Since there are a large number of variables, it is best to contact one of our funeral directors at 262-542-6609 to answer your questions or to contact either the National or State Departments of Veterans Affairs at 800- 827-1000.

How to apply
At Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker, we feel applying for benefits should be easy for the family and we work to obtain most of the papers which the state VA office will need. However, the family will need to bring in one important piece, the DD-214 (discharge papers) forms, in order for us to begin the process. If you do not currently have discharge papers, you may request them online at www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records.

Who is eligible?
To be eligible for benefits, someone must be a veteran who was discharged or separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and who have completed the required period of service. U.S. Armed Forces members who die while on active duty are also eligible, as are the spouses and dependent children of eligible living and deceased veterans, and of current and deceased armed forces members. Please contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 800-827-1000 for more information.

How to request discharge papers online:
www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records.

Burial allowance for veterans
The Veterans Administration (VA) may pay a $300 burial and funeral allowance for veterans who (at the time of death) were entitled to or receiving any form of military compensation or if the veteran died while hospitalized at a VA hospital or nursing home. In some cases, additional costs of transportation of the remains may be reimbursed. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims of service connected deaths, but claims for non-service related deaths must be filed within two years after burial or cremation has occurred.

The VA may pay a $300 plot allowance when a veteran is not being buried in a cemetery under jurisdiction of the U.S. Government. Criteria for this allowance are that the veteran must have been discharged from active duty because of a sustained disability or if they were aggravated in the line of duty. If a veteran died while in a VA hospital or nursing home of if they were eligible for or receiving compensation or pension pay they are also entitled to the $300 plot allowance.

If a veteran's death is service-related, the VA may pay up to $2,000 in benefits. They may also cover the cost of transporting the deceased's body to a national cemetery near the home of the deceased. If the veteran was retired or entitled to a pension or other military compensation, the VA may pay an additional burial and funeral expense allowance.

Flags for veterans
Every veteran's family is entitled to a U.S. flag in their loved one's honor. At Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker, we will work with VA offices to file the correct documentation and obtain the flag to be presented to the family of a veteran. We are honored to work with those who have served our country and we are proud to extend a complimentary wooden flag case to each veteran's family we serve.

American Legion members salute

Veterans cemeteries
There are hundreds of Veterans' Cemeteries across the country and several within Wisconsin. The staff at Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker are able to work with all Veterans Cemeteries regardless of their location. Southern Wisconsin Veteran's Memorial Cemetery is nearby in Union Grove and we work with them often for military funerals. We, at Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker will work with the cemetery to arrange for burials and complete the paperwork but there are some forms the cemetery will require the family to sign in person on the day of the committal service. Veterans buried at National Cemeteries may receive many benefits such as a graveliner provided at no cost, no opening or closing costs and a provided government marker. Spouses and dependent children of veterans are eligible to be buried at the same National Cemetery as the veteran for a nominal fee. Military honors for the veteran can either be provided at the cemetery or at the place of the service depending on the family's preference.

Markers & headstones
The VA may provide headstones and markers for deceased veterans, spouses of veterans and eligible dependents of veterans buried in national, state veteran or military cemeteries. They may also provide these for the unmarked graves of veterans anywhere in the world.

Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble, upright granite and upright marble types are available to mark the grave in a style consistent with the place of burial. Niche markers also are available to mark columbarium niches used for inurnment of cremated remains.

Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, the years of birth and death, and branch of service. Optional items which also may be inscribed at the VA's expense are: military grade, rank or rate; war service such as World War II; months and days of birth and death; an emblem reflecting one's beliefs; valor awards; and the Purple Heart. Additional items may be inscribed at private expense. Please note that there are a certain amount of allowed lines for these inscriptions and they vary depending on the type of marker chosen.

When burial is in a national, state veteran or military cemetery, the headstone or marker is ordered through the cemetery, and the cemetery will also place it on the grave. Information regarding style, inscription, shipping and placement can be obtained from the cemetery.

When burial occurs in a cemetery other than a national cemetery or a state veterans' cemetery, the headstone or marker must be applied for through the VA. It is shipped at government expense to the consignee designated on the application. However, the VA does not pay the cost of placing the headstone or marker on the grave, the family covers these expenses.

The VA cannot issue a headstone or marker for a spouse or child buried in a private cemetery. Twenty- year reservists without active duty service are eligible for a headstone or marker, if they are entitled to military retired pay at the time of death.

American Legion members mark Veterans Day with a ceremony at Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha.

Veterans Resources

National Department of Veterans Affairs
Phone: 1-800-827-1000
www.va.gov

Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs
Phone: 1-800-WIS-VETS or 1-800-947-8387
www.dva.state.wi.us/benefits

County Veterans Service Office (Waukesha)
Attn: Thomas Ludka
Human Services Center
500 Riverview Ave., Rm. G138
Waukesha, WI 53188-3680
Phone: (262) 548-7732
Fax: (262 ) 896-8588
Email: Tom Ludka, Human Service Center at tludka@waukeshacounty.gov
Email: Chris Wiesner, Veterans Service at cwiesner@waukeshacounty.gov www.waukeshacounty.gov

Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery
21731 Spring St.
Union Grove, WI 53182
Phone: (262) 878-5660
Toll-free: 1-888-823-3789 (in state)
Fax: (262) 878-5664
Email: swvmc@dva.state.wi.us
Brochure: dva.state.wi.us
www.dva.state.wi.us/cem_southern.asp

Military Funeral Honors
The State of Wisconsin has a Military Funeral Honors Program. Please call (262) 878-5962 for more details or visit our website for more information:
www.dva.state.wi.us/Ben-funeralhonors.asp

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237 N. Moreland Blvd. • Waukesha, WI 53188 • Phone: 262-542-6609 • Fax: 262-521-3823 • Email: info@cczfh.com