Q: How are funerals selected?
A: No two funerals are exactly alike because no two families are exactly alike. Each funeral reflects the unique needs and desires of the survivors involved. Survivors are encouraged to plan funerals that will memorialize their loved one, pay tribute to the life that has been lived and provide an outlet for expressing grief. Usually, survivors plan funerals based on ethnic or religious traditions and in consideration with the deceased’s wishes and how the deceased’s life was lived. The purpose of the funeral is to help the survivors to begin to move toward a different life – one without the deceased’s physical presence.
Q: What do I need to bring to the funeral home when making funeral arrangements for my loved one?
A: Please bring the following:
Full legal name
Social Security Number
Parents names (including mother’s maiden name)
Number of completed years of education
Doctor’s name and phone number
VA Discharge papers (DD214)
Surviving family names & locations
Obituary for deceased
Clergy/Music for service
Clothing (include underwear & socks)
Photo of deceased (original, high resolution, not cropped) You may also bring the photo on a flash drive or your camera’s memory card.
Q: How is Social Security notified of a death and what are the Social Security benefits at time of death?
A: Social Security notification is done by the funeral home. The surviving spouse receives $255.00 from Social Security. When the second spouse dies there is no death benefit.
Q: What benefits does a US Veteran receive at the time of death?
A: All Veterans receive a flag, a Veteran’s marker and have the opportunity to be buried in a Veteran’s cemetery if they choose. The Veteran’s spouse may be buried in a Veteran’s cemetery also. If the Veteran was receiving a pension or disability from the V.A. at the time of death, there are death benefits ranging from approximately $300.00 to $600.00.
Q: What do I do when a death occurs away from home?
A: When a death occurs away from home, an immediate phone call should be placed to your hometown funeral director. This should be done regardless of where or when the death takes place. Your hometown funeral director will then coordinate care of the deceased, with a licensed funeral director in the town where the death occured. Remembering this simple rule, will help decrease confusion and expense during what is already an extremely stressful time.
Q: Should young children attend funerals?
A: Funerals, weddings, graduations and other milestones are all important events in the life of a family. It is our belief that – with proper preparation and support – even young children should be encouraged – but not forced – to attend visitations and funerals. Children lack knowledge and vocabulary surrounding death and funerals. So, before attending a visitation or funeral it is important to take time to explain funeral customs and “talk through” with your child what they will experience. Children are very literal in their thinking, so use simple, honest, age-appropriate language such as “died, dead, viewing, casket, and buried” and avoid euphemisms such as “sleeping or passed away or gone” because, due to their abstract nature, those terms are very confusing to small children. If Mom and Dad are unable, assign a trusted adult to be with your child the entire time they are at the visitation or funeral. That trusted adult can answer the child’s questions as they occur and offer comfort as needed. A three hour visitation is way too long for a young child’s normal attention span. We suggest that you limit young children’s time in attendance to no more than an hour. When you return home, “debrief them” by asking them to tell you what they saw and heard and what they have questions about. Use that opportunity to reassure your child and clear up any of their misconceptions.