When choosing a funeral home to help your family, there many factors that may affect your decision. We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions that may help you when you are evaluating where you would like to go.
Depending on where the death occurs and under what circumstances, this explains what you should do when a death occurs:
Funeral Arrangement Conference
To assure that one of our funeral home directors is immediately available and can devote the personal attention and time needed to make the arrangements, we would request that you call to schedule a mutually convenient arrangement time. Although the vast majority of funeral conferences are handled at our arrangement conference room during normal business hours, we are available to come to your residence or meet in the evening or weekends. One of our funeral directors is always on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
When you come to the conference, you may want to bring with you the following items:
At the funeral arrangement conference, if you have not already made prearrangements with Galzerano Funeral Homes, our funeral directors will need to obtain some vital information for completing the death certificate. Certified copies of the death certificate are legal documents and are issued by the state of Pennsylvania Vital Statistics offices. Photocopies are not considered legal documents. After the original certificate has been signed by the physician or medical examiner and all vital information completed by our funeral home. it is filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Fees for certified copies in Pennsylvania are $20 each and are free for Veterans and their spouses. Costs of death certificates outside Pennsylvania vary from state to state. During the funeral arrangement conference, we will ask you how many certified copies of the death certificate are needed. As part of our services, we will obtain certified copies on your behalf. Although we try to obtain the certified copies prior to the completion of the funeral service, this is not always possible. In order to assist you in ascertaining the number of certified copies needed, below is a list of potential needs for a death certificate:
Please note that we will notify Social Security of the death so no death certificate is needed for that purpose.
Please join Galzerano Funeral Homes as we salute our veterans and active duty personnel of the United States Armed Forces.
We remember those brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, while fighting to defend our freedom. These brave soldiers of our armed forces will always be remembered in the hearts of all Americans, and especially in the hearts of their families.
Reimbursement of Burial Expenses:
VA will pay a burial allowance of up to $2,000 if the veteran's death is service connected. VA also will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a service-disabled veteran to the national cemetery with available gravesites nearest to the deceased person's home. In such cases, the person who bore the veteran's burial expenses may claim reimbursement from VA. VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral expense allowance for veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled to compensation but for receipt of military retirement pay. Eligibility also is established when death occurs in a VA facility or a nursing home with which VA contracted. Additional costs of transportation of the remains may be reimbursed. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims of service-connected deaths. In other deaths, claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation.
VA will pay a $300 plot allowance when the veteran is not buried in a cemetery that is under U.S. Government jurisdiction if the veteran is discharged from active duty because of disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty, if the veteran was in receipt of compensation or pension or would have been in receipt of compensation but for receipt of military retired pay, or if the veteran died while hospitalized by VA. The plot allowance is not payable solely on wartime service.
If the veteran is buried without charge for the cost of a plot or interment in a state-owned cemetery reserved solely for veteran burials, the $300 plot allowance may be paid to the state. Burial expenses paid by the deceased's employer or a state agency will not be reimbursed.
VA provides an American flag to drape the casket of a veteran and to a person entitled to retired military pay. After the funeral service, the flag may be given to the next of kin or a close associate. VA also will issue a flag on behalf of a service member who was missing in action and later presumed dead. Flags are issued at VA regional offices, national cemeteries, and post offices.
Burial in National Cemeteries VA Cemeteries:
Burial benefits in a VA national cemetery include the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbaria for the inurnment of cremated remains or special gravesites for the burial of cremated remains. Headstones and markers and their placement are provided at the government's expense.
Veterans and armed forces members who die on active duty are eligible for burial in one of VA's 114 national cemeteries. An eligible veteran must have been discharged or separated from active duty under honorable or general conditions and must have completed the required period of service. Persons entitled to retired pay as a result of 20 years creditable service with a reserve component are eligible. A U.S. citizen who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in a war also may be eligible.
Spouses and minor children of eligible veterans and of armed forces members also may be buried in a national cemetery. A surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who married a nonveteran, and whose remarriage was terminated by death or divorce, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
Gravesites in national cemeteries cannot be reserved. Funeral directors or others making burial arrangements must apply at the time of death. Reservations made under previous programs are honored. The National Cemetery System normally does not conduct burials on weekends. A weekend caller, however, will be directed to one of three strategically located VA cemetery offices that remain open during weekends to schedule burials at the cemetery of the caller's choice during the following week.
Headstones and Markers:
VA provides headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of veterans anywhere in the world and for eligible dependents of veterans buried in national, state veteran or military cemeteries.
Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble, upright granite, and upright marble types are available to mark the grave in a style consistent with the place of burial. Niche markers also are available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.
Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, the years of birth and death, and branch of service. Optional items that also may be inscribed at VA expense are military grade, rank or rate; war service such as World War II; months and days of birth and death; an emblem reflecting one's beliefs; valor awards; and the Purple Heart. Additional items may be inscribed at private expense.
When burial is in a national, state veteran or military cemetery, the headstone marker is ordered through the cemetery. Inscription, shipping, and placement can be obtained from the cemetery.
When burial occurs in a cemetery other than a national, military post or state veteran’s cemetery, the headstone marker must be applied for from VA. It is shipped at government expense. VA, however, does not pay the cost of placing the headstone or marker on the grave. To apply, you must complete VA form 40-1330 and forward it to Director, Office of Memorial Programs (403A), National Cemetery System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC 20420. Forms and assistance are available at VA application you may call the Director, Office of Memorial Programs at 1-800-697-6947.
VA cannot issue a headstone or marker for a spouse or child buried in a private cemetery. Twenty-year reservists without active duty service are eligible for a headstone or marker if they are entitled to military retired pay at the time of death.
Headstones or Markers for Memorial Plots:
To memorialize an eligible veteran whose remains are not available for burial; VA will provide a plot and headstone or marker in a national cemetery. The headstone or marker is the same as that used to identify a grave except that the mandatory phrase "In Memory of" precedes the authorized inscription. The headstone or marker is available to memorialize eligible veterans or deceased active-duty members whose remains were not recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and scattered. The memorial marker may be provided for placement in a cemetery other than a national cemetery. In such a case, VA supplies the marker and pays the cost of shipping but does not pay for the plot or the placement of the marker. Only a relative recognized as the next of kin may apply for the benefit.
Presidential Memorial Certificates:
The Presidential Memorial Certificate is a parchment certificate with a calligraphic inscription expressing the nation's recognition of the veteran's service. The veteran's name is inscribed, and the certificate bears the signature of the president. Certificates are issued in the name of honorably discharged, deceased veterans. Eligible recipients include next of kin, other relatives, and friends. The award of a certificate to one eligible recipient does not preclude certificates to other eligible recipients. The veteran may have died at any time in the past. The local VA regional office generally originates the application for a Presidential Memorial Certificate. The next of kin also may request a certificate. Requests should be accompanied by a copy of a document such as a discharge to establish honorable service. VA regional offices can assist in applying for certificates.
Contact Information for the Headstone and Gravemarker Program and Government Life Insurance Information
Headstone and Gravemarker Program
8:00am to 4:30pm Eastern Time
Government Life Insurance Information VA Insurance Center
8:00am to 6:30pm Eastern Time
The following checklist is designed to help you file for your Social Security benefits correctly so that prompt payments may be made.
The deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security, ranging from 1.5 to 10 years depending on his or her age at death.
Who may receive monthly benefits:
Lump-Sum Death Payment
A one time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above. The lump-sum death payment (LSDP) is paid in the following priority order:
Applying for Benefits
You must apply to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office or, if you wish, you may apply by telephone. Just dial the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 and the operator will schedule an appointment for you or arrange for the local Social Security office to take your claim by telephone.
Social Security Teleservices - DOING BUSINESS BY TELEPHONE
You may call Social Security toll-free, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The number to use is 1-800-772-1213. To speak with a representative, call between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm on regular business days. At other times and on weekends and holidays, you may leave a message and they will call you back, in most cases, the next business day.
You may use the toll-free number to make an appointment either in a Social Security office or telephone to apply for benefits, transact other Social Security business, or just ask questions.
Or contact by web: www.SSA.gov
Our staff stands ready to assist you in any need your family might have and want to thank you for the trust and confidence you have placed in us. To keep matters as easy as possible, we offer the following options in settling the funeral expenses of your loved one. Please feel at ease to ask any questions about our services or costs at any time.
It is our sincere desire that we serve you in every aspect in your time of need. Since we are not able to finance the cost of funeral services or merchandise, we have the following payment options available which are acceptable payment arrangements of this funeral home.
Payment is due at the time of arrangements. We have built our business by providing the kind of service that meets the need of each family. If there is anything that you can think of that would better our service to you, please do not hesitate to mention it.
WHAT TO DO FIRST
CALL US DAY OR NIGHT
We take charge from then on and make all the arrangements for conveying of the deceased to the local funeral home for embalming and preparation for return to their home state. You only need contact us with some basic information and call us when you return to set a time for an arrangement conference. For us to assume the costs as outlined, the death must have occurred in one of the forty-eight contiguous states and you must call us direct so we can engage our representatives at the place of death.
(NO need to contact another funeral firm where the death occurs. We will gladly do this for you.)
OUR NETWORK OF FUNERAL HOMES THROUGHOUT THE U.S.
We make all necessary phone calls and contacts on your behalf. This eases the burden of you having to contact multiple funeral homes and staff members. We have affiliations with funeral homes in every city, in every state to better serve you.
WHAT DO YOU SAVE?
We pay all most normal out-of-town costs except cash advances. These normal charges include out-of-town removal service, standard embalming, transfer of remains to airport, outer transfer container, all documents for transfer and burial, out-of-town funeral facilities, professional staff, and services. This means your only additional costs are transportation and transfer of remains to the funeral home from the airport. Since we use a lightweight transfer casket and outer container, we help to keep the air fare to a minimum.
If a family member dies while traveling outside the United States, the U.S. Embassy will come to your assistance. You should call us immediately when a death occurs abroad. We are well-versed in the procedures for returning the deceased to the United States.
We have been providing services for so many years, and as people move away from our immediate area, they still call on our firm to serve them. We go ANYWHERE to help people who call on us.
In the last year or so, we have handled funeral services in New York City, Delaware, Upstate PA, and at the Jersey shore. Families may move away from the local neighborhood, but still insist on a great funeral home to serve them. We could hold the viewing in a church or one of the funeral homes close to the church or in your neighborhood. (We have a great relationship with most funeral homes throughout the city and surrounding areas and they allow us to utilize their buildings to hold viewings. This is a courtesy that many funeral home shows to us).
It is impossible for any funeral firm to have a chapel in every neighborhood, every parish. But because of our relationship with many firms, we could accommodate your family anywhere.