The Funeral and Burial Program
The Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program ensures that eligible Veterans receive dignified funeral and burial services. The Program is administered by the Last Post Fund, a non-profit organization that has served Veterans since 1909.
To be eligible for the Program, Veterans must meet both military service and financial criteria.
- Service Criteria
To meet the military service criteria, the Veteran must have been:
- a former member of the Canadian Forces or any predecessor Naval, Army or Air Forces of Canada or Newfoundland; or
- a Merchant Navy Veteran of the Second World War or the Korean War; or
an Allied Veteran who served with the Allied Forces during the Second World War or the Korean War and has also lived in Canada for at least 10 years, or lived in Canada prior to enlisting and was living in Canada at time of death.
- Financial Criteria
Once the Veteran has met the service-related criteria, eligibility for funeral and burial benefits can be established in one of two ways:
When a Veteran’s death is related to military service due to a condition for which Veterans Affairs Canada provided a disability benefit, assistance may be granted as a matter-of-right (no means testing). This must be determined by a medical authority from Veterans Affairs Canada.
The means test, or a financial assessment of a Veteran’s estate, takes into account the following factors: marital status, number of dependents and net assets.
In the case of a Veteran with a spouse or dependent children (or both), the combined assets of the couple are considered, excluding the family house, one vehicle and income received during the month of death. All liabilities, including funeral and burial costs, are then deducted. To qualify, their combined net asset value must be $12,015 or less.
In the case of a single Veteran, if the net value of the estate is not sufficient to pay off all existing liabilities, including the cost of funeral and burial services, the Veteran is deemed to be eligible for assistance.
Assistance toward funeral and burial expenses is calculated in accordance with the amounts set in the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005. The current maximum rate payable toward funeral home costs such as professional services, casket and an urn is $7376 + tax. Over and above this amount, the cost of a plot, cemetery charges such as opening and closing, and the actual cost of cremation may be covered (maximums apply). Because a Veteran’s financial situation may change up until the time of death, funeral and burial benefits cannot be pre-approved. There are two options, depending on circumstances and family preference:
- Standard Funeral and Burial (Type 1)
Standard funeral services may be provided when the Last Post Fund is contacted, and eligibility determined, before firm arrangements are made with a funeral home. In this case, the Last Post Fund will contract directly with the funeral home within the maximum amounts set out in the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005.
- Assisted Service (Type 2)
When arrangements for funeral and burial are made by a Veteran’s estate, family or another person/organization, an application for reimbursement (partial or full) may be made within one year. This reimbursement is subject to the amounts set out in the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005.
With both options, an estate or family may request that a Veteran’s military-style grave marker be ordered through a Last Post Fund supplier.
It is important to note that every case is unique. Therefore, financial assistance is not automatically granted. All factors must be considered before making a firm decision on eligibility. We recommend that you contact the Last Post Fund to discuss your specific situation.
Applying for Funeral and Burial Benefits
To qualify for assistance under the Funeral and Burial Program, both service-related and financial eligibility criteria must be met. Before approving assistance, the Last Post Fund will conduct a short interview with the Veteran’s next of kin, executor or other responsible person to establish eligibility. When contacting the Last Post Fund to apply for assistance, we recommend you have a Veteran’s military service and financial information on hand to facilitate the application process. Please note there is a one-year time limit after the Veteran's death to apply for assistance.
- Online Request for Application
An Online Form may be used to supply preliminary information and initiate an application. Once submitted, a Last Post Fund representative will contact you. An official application form will follow by mail.
- Application by Phone
To request an official application form, please call Toll Free 1 800 465-7113
Our offices are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
A grave marker may be provided and installed for those Veterans who are entitled to receive funeral and burial benefits, as determined under Section 4 of the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005, when no other marker has been placed or ordered privately.
Depending on the type of grave marker allowed at the cemetery, the marker is ordered through a Last Post Fund supplier to ensure that Veterans Affairs Canada inscription standards are met and are produced using the following standards:
Made of Barre Grey Granite
Height 39 in. x Width 15 in. x
Thickness 3 in.
Made of Barre Grey Granite
Height 12¼ in. x Width 20 in. x
Thickness 4 in.
Privately purchased grave markers or monuments are not reimbursed under the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005. However, partial assistance may be offered toward a military inscription on such markers showing proper rank and unit. Please contact your Provincial Office for full details.
- Second Commemoration or Inscription
To accommodate a second interment in a Veteran’s plot, commemoration on the same gravesite as the Veteran is allowed. In instance of such requests, we recommend commemoration by means of a foot marker (subject to cemetery permission). If only one grave marker is allowed on a gravesite, space may be left on the marker for a second inscription. The family, estate, or person requesting the second commemoration or inscription is responsible for all associated costs.
- Ownership of Grave Markers
Once a marker is placed upon a grave, both the grave and the marker become the property of the survivors of the deceased. However, subject to Section 5(2) of the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005, if the survivors wish to make alterations to or replace the marker, prior consent of Veterans Affairs Canada and the cemetery authorities is required.
- Maintenance of Veterans' Grave Markers
In accordance with Section 12 of the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005, if the deceased has been buried at the expense of the Government of Canada, or if the deceased’s grave has been marked by the Government of Canada with a military-style grave marker, then those graves and markers will be cared for in perpetuity by Veterans Affairs Canada.
Veterans Affairs Canada will continue to coordinate all inquiries with regards to the care and maintenance of Veteran graves and grave markers. The Department has established an e-mail address specifically for cemetery maintenance inquiries and complaints. As of 1 April 2011, all such inquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone to (902) 626-2440.