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Veterans Overreach: Burial benefits available to families
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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

According to the Veterans Administration (VA), there are 3,388 veterans living in Beltrami County - which represents 7.5 percent of the county's population. Most significantly, $23.7 million was provided in education, medical care, and compensation/pension benefits in 2011 to our county veterans.

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The sacrifices many of these individual made is extraordinary.

So if you know a veteran or see one on the street wearing a hat that says, "I am a Veteran," please remember to thank them for their service. They will appreciate it.

If your loved one passes away and he/she was a veteran, here are a few benefits you might not be aware of:

The VA will pay an allowance for an eligible Veteran's burial and funeral costs. If the death was service-related, VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses and if the individual is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed. For a nonservice-related death, VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance.

Burial flags are made available free of charge to almost all veterans and it is provided to surviving next-of-kin as a lasting memorial.

Deceased veterans also receive a signature government headstone or a medallion to attach to a private headstone at no cost to the family.

Families can receive a Presidential Memorial Certificate, which is an official certificate engraved and signed by the sitting U.S. president in memory of a veteran who has passed away.

Not only are these benefits available but the surviving spouse/children may be eligible for additional benefits to include compensation/pensions. More on that next time.

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SCOTTY ALLISON is the veteran's service officer in Beltrami County.

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