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.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Program, Veterans must meet both military service and financial 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 Canadian 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:

Matter-of-Right

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.

Means Testing

Eligibility is based on net assets at the time of death.  If the assets of the deceased and the financial resources of the estate are insufficient to cover funeral and burial costs (according to the financial evaluation below), a total or partial coverage of the cost is possible. 

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, the combined assets of the couple are considered, excluding:

  • A base amount of $35,738 as of January 1st 2017. The spousal estate exemption is adjusted according to the cost-of-living index annually, on January 1st. 
  • 700$ per dependent child (depending on legislation)
  • The family house and vehicle
  • Income received during the month of death


In the case of a single Veteran, if the net value of the estate is not sufficient to pay off existing liabilities, including the cost of funeral and burial services, the Veteran is deemed to be eligible for assistance.

Arrangements

Following the passing of the Veteran, depending on circumstances or family preference, assistance may be provided in one of two ways:

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.  Note:  In the case of overpayment due to an under evaluation of the Veteran’s estate, the difference must be refunded to the Last Post Fund.

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.  Note:  given no family member is available to make arrangements, a retirement home administrator, a social worker, a hospital employee or other may initiate the process. 

In both cases mentioned above, the estate or family can request a marker be ordered through the Last Post Fund. 

Services

Assistance toward funeral and burial expenses is calculated in accordance with the amounts set in the Veterans Burial Regulations. 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.

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.