The U.S. government provides for the care and disposition of the remains of members of the armed forces, active and reserve, who die while in an active duty status. Military authorities will in most instances assist with the arrangements for these services within amounts allowed by the government, or the next of kin may make their own arrangements, if desired, and claim reimbursement in the amounts allowed.
Preparation of the remains and casketing (primary expenses), clothing if not available in the personal effects of the deceased, a military escort to accompany the remains to the place of funeral and final disposition, a U.S. flag to accompany the remains to place of final disposition, and transportation of the remains to the place designated by the next of kin are provided.
The benefits for all of the above listed armed forces are the same. Military authorities will arrange for preparation and shipment of the remains if desired. A funeral with a U.S. government contract most likely will be engaged. If there is no government contract in effect and the next of kin chooses to make their own arrangements, reimbursement for preparation and casketing (primary expenses) will be at a maximum of $1,750. If a government contract is in effect and the next of kin chooses to make their own arrangements, reimbursement for preparation and casketing will be the contract price, or actual cost, whichever is less. Military authorities will make arrangements and pay for the transportation of the remains if the next of kin makes such arrangements, the reimbursement cannot exceed what it would have cost the government to forward the remains.
The government also allows for interment expenses. If the remains of the service member are to be interred in a private cemetery, reimbursement is limited to $3,100. Where there is direct forwarding of the remains to a national cemetery, the maximum reimbursement is $110. If the remains are consigned to a funeral home which will be responsible for delivery to a national cemetery, the maximum reimbursement is $2,000.
Where death has occurred and the remains have not been recovered, the reimbursement up to $2,000 will be made for a memorial service.
Members of the Reserves of each of the armed forces and members of the National Guard who die while on active duty, while performing inactive duty training or performing authorized travel to and from such training, are authorized the same primary/interment allowances as active duty personnel. They are also authorized these allowances if they die while hospitalized or undergoing treatment for an injury, illness or disease incurred or aggravated while on active duty or performing inactive duty training.
Military members entitled to retired or retainer pay or equivalent pay and their dependents who die while properly admitted to a military facility in the United States are entitled to transportation of their remains at government expense from the place of death to a place of burial that is no farther distance than the decedent's last place of permanent residence. Transportation is authorized to a place in the United States, including territories or possessions of the United States. The amount paid for transportation may not exceed the cost of transportation from the place of death to the decedent's last place of permanent residence in the United States or territories or possessions of the United States.
Requests for reimbursement should be made on DD Form 1375 and mailed to one of the following addresses:
- For Air Force Personnel:
To the Mortuary Officer of the installations which provided the DD Form 1375 to the next of kin.
- For Army Personnel:
To the Mortuary Officer of the installation which provided the DD Form 1375 to the next of kin, or if the next of kin made their own arrangements to: CRD Perscom, Attn: TAPC-PED-D, Alexandria, VA 22331-0482.
- For Army National Guard:
Chief, National Guard Bureau, Attn: NCB-ARL-LG, Washington, DC 20310-2500.
- For Navy and Marine Corps Personnel:
Office of Medical/Dental Affairs, Attn: Mortuary Affairs, Great Lakes, IL 60088-5200.
- For Coast Guard Personnel:
Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (G-PS-5), Washington, DC 20593- 0001.
(Those interested in a "mortuary contract" to serve any camp, post, station or base should contact the Mortuary Officer of such facility.