1- What is the Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program?
Delivered by the Last Post Fund on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada, the Funeral and Burial Program provides financial assistance toward the dignified funeral, burial, cremation and grave marking for eligible Veterans. The Program adheres to and is guided by the Veterans Burial Regulations of the Canadian Government.
2- What is the Last Post Fund?
The Last Post Fund is a non-profit organization which delivers the Funeral and Burial Program on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada. The primary objective of the Last Post Fund is to ensure that no Veteran is denied a dignified funeral and burial due to lack of sufficient funds at time of death.
In addition to delivering the Funeral and Burial Program, the Last Post Fund offers the Unmarked Grave Program and supports other initiatives to commemorate Canadian Veterans. Moreover, the Last Post Fund maintains its own military cemetery, the National Field of Honour in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. It is a permanent memorial of gratitude to the men and women who served their country in times of war and peace.
3- Who is eligible for assistance through the Funeral and Burial Program?
To qualify for the Funeral and Burial Program, Veterans must meet certain financial and service-related criteria. It is important to note that every case is unique and coverage is not automatic. Please contact the Last Post Fund to discuss specific situations.
4- What military service criteria must be met to qualify for assistance?
Under the program, the LPF may provide funeral and burial assistance to:
If the estate of the deceased and the financial resources of any surviving spouse are not sufficient to pay the expenses of the funeral and burial (as determined by the means test described below: see Question 8) then assistance may be provided to cover all or part of the cost.
5- Where can I find proof of a Veteran’s military service?
Library and Archives Canada holds the personnel files of former members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Visit their Web site at National Archives of Canada for more information on the services they provide, including how to request information from the personnel records unit. A written request for information may be sent by mail to:
Personnel Records Unit
Researcher Services Division
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N3
6- Does a Veteran have to be a Veterans Affairs Canada client to apply for the Funeral and Burial Program?
Any Canadian Veteran who meets the service and financial criteria may apply to the Last Post Fund for the Veterans Affairs Funeral and Burial Program.
7- Other than military service, what criteria must be met to qualify for assistance?
Once the Veteran has met the service-related criteria, eligibility for funeral and burial benefits can be established in one of two ways:
1. His financial situation has been determined by an assessment of his net value (also known as “means test”); or
2. His death is related to military service for which he or she was receiving a Veterans Affairs disability benefit (also known as “matter of right”).
8- Does a Veteran who dies from the condition for which he or she was receiving a disability benefit from Veterans Affairs Canada qualify for assistance?
This Veteran would be eligible under the “matter of right” criteria. In this case, he or she would be eligible for assistance, regardless of his/her financial situation at the time of death.
It is important to note that in order to be considered for “matter of right” assistance:
9- What is a “means test”?
The “means test” is a financial assessment that determines eligibility for the Program. The assessment considers factors such as marital status, number of dependants and net assets. Every case is unique, so it is best to contact the Last Post Fund to discuss specific situations. All factors will be considered before a firm decision on eligibility is made.
10- Why doesn’t the Funeral and Burial Program provide assistance for all Veterans?
The purpose of the Program is to assist Veterans who do not have the financial means for a dignified funeral and burial, and Veterans who die from a condition related to military service for which they are receiving a disability benefit from Veterans Affairs Canada.
11- Is a Veteran's spouse eligible for funeral and burial assistance?
No, except in the case where the spouse is also a Veteran who meets the service criteria outlined in question 4.
12- Can Veterans arrange for their spouse or other close family members to be buried with them in the Veterans' section of the cemetery?
This decision falls under the jurisdiction of each cemetery. The cemetery may be contacted directly for an answer to this question.
13- Can a Canadian Veteran who passes away outside of Canada apply for assistance under the Veterans Affairs Funeral and Burial Program?
Benefits from the Funeral and Burial Program may be extended to both resident and non-resident Canadian Veterans who meet the financial and service-related criteria.
14- What services are provided by the Last Post Fund?
There are two types of services provided by the Last Post Fund:
A standard service may be provided if the Last Post Fund is contacted by the family and eligibility is determined before firm arrangements are made with a funeral home. In this case, the Last Post Fund deals directly with the funeral home.
An assisted service will be provided to eligible Veterans if the Last Post Fund is contacted after funeral arrangements have been made with a funeral home. In this case, the Veteran’s estate or family will be reimbursed allowable costs.
15- What expenses may be covered under the Funeral and Burial Program?
Funeral and burial related expenses that are covered under the program, in full or in part, include:
- The services of a funeral director (including a casket);
- The cost of cremation and urn (if applicable);
- Burial expenses;
- A grave marker (ordered through an LPF supplier).
Every case being unique, it is best to contact the Last Post Fund to discuss specific situations. All factors will be considered before a firm decision on covered expenses is made.
16- When should an application for funeral and burial assistance be made?
An application for funeral and burial assistance may be made only at the time of a Veteran's death. When this occurs, the Veteran’s family or estate should contact the Last Post Fund to discuss eligibility at this toll-free number: 1 800-465-7113.
17- Can an application for assistance be made prior to a Veteran’s death?
The application form cannot be issued or approved until the actual date of death because financial information and marital status can change right up to that time. However, the Last Post Fund could provide advance information on how to apply for assistance, so that the family may prepare the application ahead of time.
18- Is there a time limit to apply for benefits?
There is a one-year time limit to apply for funeral and burial benefits. Therefore the application should be made as soon as possible following the Veteran’s death.
19- Will Veterans who do not qualify for funeral and burial benefits receive a grave marker?
A military grave marker is part of the funeral and burial benefit package and may only be provided in cases where a funeral and burial grant is approved. However, the Last Post Fund has created an Unmarked Grave Program for Veterans whose grave has not had a permanent headstone or foot marker for five years or more.
20- What type of grave marker may be provided?
Depending on the type of marker allowed at the cemetery, an upright or flat grey granite military marker may be placed. Where necessary, markers of varying dimensions or materials may be ordered to comply with cemetery regulations. Contact the Last Post Fund for more information.
21- Where can I get more information on the Veterans Affairs Funeral and Burial Program?
For more information, you may contact the Last Post Fund at 1 800-465-7113 and ask further questions or request a brochure on the Program.