The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register July 2, 2014, beginning a 30-day public comment period. The proposed regulation would implement new statutory authority provided in section 101 of Public Law 112-260, the "Dignified Burial and Other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2012," by establishing procedures to provide reimbursement for privately purchased caskets or urns for burial of deceased eligible Veterans in a VA national cemetery if the Veterans have no identifiable next of kin and insufficient resources are available to pay for a casket or urn.
The proposed rule includes minimum physical specifications for caskets and urns. The procedures proposed under this rule may require the submission of an application and other documents that VA would use to: (1) determine the purchase price of the burial receptacle; (2) determine whether the product complies with certain specifications; and (3) verify payment. Under the proposed rule, the cost of the burial receptacle may be reimbursed up to a maximum amount that would be determined based on the average cost of a metal casket or plastic urn meeting the minimum specifications.
Patriot Plaza, the state of the art amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery in Florida, was unveiled to the public Saturday, June 28. The structure features a covered seating area for 2,800, a large stage and commissioned artwork that honors our military and Veterans. The Patterson Foundation, a Sarasota-based philanthropic organization, donated the project at a cost of $12 million, including $1 million for future maintenance.
Patriot Plaza will be used for patriotic ceremonies, special events and large services. The commissioned artwork that adorns the grounds depicts and honors the military experience and will attract visitors even outside of special events. The Patriot Plaza Project is an extension of The Patterson Foundation’s philanthropic initiatives geared towards honoring military service to our nation.
For the fifth time since 2001, NCA has received the highest rating in customer satisfaction for any federal agency or private corporation surveyed, according to a prestigious, independent survey of customer satisfaction.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is the only uniform, national, cross-industry measure of satisfaction with the quality of goods and services available in the United States. In 1999, the federal government selected ACSI to be a standard metric for measuring citizen satisfaction. More than 100 Federal government agencies have used ACSI to measure citizen satisfaction with more than 200 services and programs. The Index was founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and is produced by ACSI, LLC.
NCA participates in the ACSI every three years, previously in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010. Each time it has participated, NCA has received the top rating in the nation. For 2013, NCA achieved a customer satisfaction index of 96, 28 points above the average for federal government agencies and well above such companies as Coca-Cola, Apple Computers and the H.J. Heinz Co.
NCA created a webpage to enable funeral directors to quickly find the most pertinent information to help families plan burials and apply for VA memorial benefits. It provides information about eligibility, benefits and services, VA forms, and features four videos on casket and cremain services offered with and without military funeral honors. The videos are narrated in English and Spanish and show what a family can expect on the day of their loved-one's funeral at a VA national cemetery.
There are also quick links to download VA forms for ordering headstones and markers, the bronze medallion, the Presidential Memorial Certificate, and other benefits.