Death Benefits


Social Security Benefits

Your funeral director will notify the Social Security Administration of the death. The current death benefit is $255 and is payable only to a surviving spouse or to dependent children.  There are other less common exceptions.
In some instances, the surviving spouse’s monthly benefit may increase. If there are dependent children age 17 and under, or 18 or 19 and enrolled in a secondary school, there may be monthly benefits paid for or to these children. Your funeral director can answer other questions or refer you to the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 from 7am-7pm weekdays, or their website,

Veteran’s Benefits

The Veterans Administration provides benefits for a veteran’s family if they can provide a copy of discharge papers (form DD-214)indicating a discharge other than dishonorable. These benefits include a flag, burial in a national veterans cemetery, a burial vault, a grave marker, military honors at the graveside, and a Presidential Merit Certificate. If the  burial is in a veterans cemetery, a grave can also be reserved for a surviving spouse.  (If you can’t locate the veteran’s discharge papers, your funeral director can help you get a new copy. This website will tell you what you need to send with your request. –

There are additional federal monetary allowances toward burial expenses in some circumstances, such as if the veteran’s death occurs in a federal VA hospital or if the veteran was receiving a VA pension at the time of death. Because federal and state guidelines vary depending on the circumstances, your funeral director will be glad to offer information on an individual basis. The Veterans Administration also has a lot of very helpful information.

If a soldier dies during wartime, the benefits are very different and more inclusive. For details on this, ask your funeral director or visit the website mentioned in the previous paragraph.

The nearest national veterans cemeteries are Bath National Cemetery in Bath and Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira.   Burial is also permitted in any national veterans cemetery in the United States, depending on the availability of graves. For eligibility for burial in Arlington National Cemetery, your funeral director will be able to help you. There is also information at There are no state veterans cemeteries in New York, but there is a veterans section in many local cemeteries, such as Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and Riverside Cemetery, in Rochester. Your funeral director will be able to help you with availability in other cemeteries in your area. There may be residency requirements that your funeral director can explain.   
The local Rochester Vet Center is located at 1867 Mount Hope Avenue in Rochester with a phone number of 585-232-5040. The regional toll-free information number is 1-800-827-1000. If you need further assistance, your funeral director can help you with any concerns.  

Some veterans have life insurance coverage with Government National Life Insurance. Your funeral director can help you file the claim for the death benefits. If you have additional questions, their office number is 1-800-669-8477.