You are here

C28/2007 Funeral Benefit Paid Under s99 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986


DATE OF ISSUE:  09 October 2007

Funeral Benefit Paid Under s99 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

Replaces DI No.



The purpose of this Instruction is to clarify the procedures to be followed when a claim is received for funeral benefit under s99 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).

Note:  Please note that this Instruction REPLACES DI C24/2007.


The funeral benefit can be paid under s99 of the VEA in respect of a veteran:

  • Whose death was war-caused;
  • Who died in an institution or while travelling to or from an institution;
  • Who was being or had recently been treated for a terminal illness; or
  • Who died in indigent circumstances.

The past policy approach to paying funeral benefit under s99 has been to pay the benefit directly to the person who incurred the funeral expense, on presentation of receipts.

Recent Developments

A recent case has made it clear that previous DVA policy concerning funeral benefit required adjustment.

In the recent case, the deceased veteran's widow resided in one state, while his parents resided in another.  As the parents and widow were not on good terms, the widow held a memorial ceremony for her deceased partner in her state of residence, and then the veteran's remains were transported to his parents' state of residence, where a full funeral was held.

The widow made a claim under s99 for funeral benefit and presented a receipt for the cost of the memorial ceremony she had organised.  Funeral benefit was granted.  The parents also lodged a claim for funeral benefit in respect of the full funeral for the same veteran.

New funeral benefit policy

Only one funeral benefit to be paid

Advice received from Legal Services Group indicates that the funeral benefit can only be paid once in relation to each eligible veteran.

Definition: Eligible funeral to involve burial or cremation of remains

The purpose of the funeral benefit is to assist the bereaved family to pay the unavoidable costs of a veteran's funeral.  In reality, while the ceremony, refreshments and memorial are important aspects, the essential part of a funeral is the burial or cremation of the veteran's remains.  It is therefore important to ensure that burial or cremation has taken place before reimbursing funeral costs under s99*.

* There is an exception to this rule where the veteran's remains have been donated to science; see Remains Donated to Science below.

Remains donated to science

In circumstances where DVA is informed that an eligible veteran's body has been donated to research, the funeral benefit of up to $2,000 may be paid where:

  • the research institution returns the remains to the family, and the family is responsible for the cost of a funeral (ie the institution does not pay for the funeral); or
  • a memorial plaque is erected to the memory of the veteran, and/or a memorial ceremony is held without the remains present.

Situations where the funeral benefit is NOT granted

It must be noted that:

  • where the research institution carries out the final disposal of the body, the research institution does not qualify for the funeral benefit. In these cases the research institution is obliged to carry the cost involved.;
  • reimbursement for a plaque is not available if a plaque has been provided through the Office of Australian War Graves; and
  • the funeral benefit may only be granted once in respect of any veteran.  This means that if the veteran's family holds a ceremony for which they claim funeral benefit, and then the veteran's remains are later returned to them for burial, they cannot claim the funeral benefit a second time.


In summary, the following action is to be taken in relation to claims for funeral benefit under section 99 of the VEA:

  • ensure that the funeral being claimed is a 'funeral' within the above definition (ie that it involved the burial or cremation of the veteran's remains), except in cases where the veteran's remains were donated to science;
  • pay the benefit to the estate, where available; and
  • pay the benefit only once in relation to each eligible veteran.


Any enquiries about this Instruction or clarification on this issue should be directed to VEA Compensation Policy Section at the ACT location.


Sean Farrelly

National Manager

Compensation Policy Group

9 October 2007