If you’re a veteran’s surviving family or caregiver, you may be eligible for expanded burial benefits that help cover certain funeral expenses. But scammers may contact you, saying that for a fee they can do the paperwork and guarantee what benefits you’ll get. Other scammers pretend to be from the VA. But the VA will never call, text, or email out of the blue and ask for your credit card or bank account information.
Making funeral arrangements is never easy. What can you do to avoid possible pitfalls?
- Check the VA’s list before discussing your benefits with anyone. Applying for VA benefits is free. If you want help with applying, use VA-accredited agents, Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), or accredited attorneys. Confirm that the person helping you is accredited by the VA and check VA’s searchable list of approved individuals.
- If possible, research your eligibility ahead of time and make a plan. VA burial benefits can help you arrange for burial or a memorial service in a VA national cemetery. The VA has information about eligibility and how to apply. The National Cemetery Administration (part of the VA) has a Resource Guide and video with more details.
- You have rights when shopping for funeral services, whether you’re using VA benefits or not. The FTC enforces the Funeral Rule which allows you to compare prices among funeral homes, to choose only those goods and services you want or need, and to pay only for those you select. To get help thinking through the steps, and knowing what funeral homes are required to do, check out Shopping for Funeral Services by Phone or Online. If one funeral home won’t answer your questions or give you the information you asked for, look somewhere else. And then tell the FTC: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.