Helpful Info

 Death Certificates

The original death certificate is generated by the funeral home.  It must be signed by a physician, coroner, medical examiner or in some cases a registered hospice nurse.  It then must be registered in the county of death where at that time, certificed copies may be obtained for the family.  After county registration, the death certificate is sent to the State Department of Health to be put on permanent file.  After that, certified copies must be obtained through the state department of health.  To order a certified copy from any state, visit this link.

Social Security Benefits

When a person who has worked and paid Social Security taxes dies, certain members of the family may be eligible for survivors benefits.
 Up to ten years of work is needed to be eligible for benefits, depending on the person's age at the time of death


  • Social Security survivors benefits can be paid to:

    • A widow or widower -- full benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60
    • A disabled widow or widower -- as early as age 50
    • A widow or widower at any age if he or she takes care of the deceased's child who is under age 16 or disabled, and receiving Social Security benefits
    • Unmarried children under 18, or up to age 19 if they are attending high school full time. Under certain circumstances, benefits can be paid to stepchildren, grandchildren, or adopted children.
    • Children at any age who were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled.
    • Dependent parents age 62 or older


    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: 

    A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death. 
    A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
    A child or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.


    You must apply in order 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.

    Local Social Security Office:

    110 Hulsey Ave.
    Poteau, Ok. 74953
    phone: (918) 647-9194

    Veterans Benefits

    Burial in a National Cemetery:

    Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible veterans, their spouses and dependents at no cost to the family and includes the gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine. For veterans, benefits also include a burial flag (with case for active duty) and military funeral honors. Family members and other loved ones of deceased veterans may request Presidential Memorial Certificates. 

     VA operates 122 national cemeteries, of which 83 are open for new interments and 21 of these accept only cremated remains. Burial options are limited to those available at a specific cemetery but may include in-ground casket, or interment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in ground or a scatter garden. Contact the nearest national cemetery to determine if it is open for new burials and which options are available.

     The funeral director or the next of kin makes interment arrangements by contacting the national cemetery in which burial is desired. VA normally does not conduct burials on weekends. Gravesites cannot be reserved, however VA will honor reservations made under previous programs.

    Surviving spouses of veterans who died on or after Jan.1, 2000, do not lose eligibility for burial in a national cemetery if they remarry. 

     Burial of dependent children is limited to unmarried children under 21 years of age, or under 23 years of age if a full-time student at an approved educational institution. Unmarried adult children who become physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-support before age 21, or 23 if a full-time student, also are eligible for burial. 

     To confirm your eligibility for burial benefits, please call a Veteranís Benefits Counselor at:  1-800-827-1000

    Burial Flag

    Why does VA provide a Burial Flag?

    The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) provides a U.S. flag at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the   
    U.S. armed forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a veteranís military service to his or her country. Section 517 of Public Law 105-261 added eligibility for former 
    members of the Selected Reserve.

    Who is eligible to receive the Burial Flag?

    Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin as a keepsake after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it. For those VA national cemeteries with an Avenue of Flags, families of veterans buried in these national cemeteries may donate the burial flags of their loved ones to be flown on patriotic holidays.

    Can a Burial Flag be replaced?

    The law allows one flag for a veteranís funeral. It cannot be replaced if it is lost, destroyed, or stolen. However, some veteransí organizations or other community groups may be able to help you get another flag.

    How should the Burial Flag be displayed?

    The proper way to display the flag depends upon whether the casket is open or closed. VA Form 21-2008 provides the correct method for displaying and folding the flag. The burial flag is not suitable for outside display because of its size and fabric. It is made of cotton and can easily be damaged by weather. 

    Headstones and Markers

    Veterans, active duty members and retired reservists and National Guard members are eligible for an inscribed headstone or marker to mark their grave at any cemetery; national, state veterans or private, delivered at no cost, anywhere in the world. Spouses and dependent children are eligible for a government headstone or marker only if they are buried in a national or state veterans cemetery.Flat markers are available in bronze, granite or marble. Upright headstones come in granite or marble. In national cemeteries, the style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains. Headstones and markers previously provided by the government may be replaced at government expense if badly deteriorated, illegible, vandalized or stolen. To check the status of an application for a headstone or marker for a national or state veterans cemetery, call the cemetery. To check the status of one being placed in a private cemetery, call 1-800-697-6947.

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