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.
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.
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 $35,279 (raised from $12,015 on October 1st 2016) 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. 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.
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.
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, 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:
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