Death benefits are provided by the County of Berks to veterans whose active service included any of the following periods of war:
- Persian Gulf War – August 2, 1990 to T.B.A. (Open until further notice through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)
- Vietnam Era – August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 (February 21, 1961 for those veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964)
- Korea – June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955
- World War II – December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
- Word War I – April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
Those death benefits include the following:
Burial Allowance: An allowance of $75 is provided by the County of Berks toward the funeral and burial of any veteran honorably discharged, who served one or more days during any of the previously listed service dates. It is also required that the Veteran’s legal residence was Berks County at the time of death. The application for this benefit must be made within one year of the veteran’s death.
Spouse’s Burial Allowance: Widows or widowers of military personnel who served during wartime and were honorably discharged are also entitled to a $75 burial allowance. They, likewise, must have been a legal resident of Berks County at the time of death. Application for this benefit must be made within one year of the death of the veteran’s spouse.
Headstone Allowance: An applicant may select any one of the three following allowances for a headstone:
1) Up to $100 toward a headstone of prescribed dimensions (check with your local office of Department of Veterans Affairs)
2) Up to $50 toward the base for a federal marker or a headstone
3) Up to $50 toward lettering on an already existing headstone, including military information
Should an individual apply for the $100 allowance, the headstone must be completed and installed. Before the grant is paid, however, a certification of the stone’s erection must be notarized. The applicant would be required to pay the foundation costs. Regarding information concerning the inscription, the County’s Department of Veterans Affairs will furnish the veteran’s name, year of birth and death, military organization, rank, and war in which the veteran served.
Flags and Flag Holders: The County provides flags and flag holders, normally used for Memorial Day observances to decorate the graves of veterans. The markers and flags are then made available by the Department of Veterans Affairs free of charge to funeral homes, various veterans’ organizations and volunteers whose responsibility it is to place them on the appropriate graves. Individual families may also request them from the department.
Any veterans organization interested in obtaining flags and/or flag holders may do so by submitting a request on their official stationery/letterhead to:
Department of Veterans Affairs
726 Cherry Street
Reading, PA 19602
Available flag holders include those for the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, War on Terrorism, and Berks County specific Peace Time.
Unauthorized removal of markers carries a maximum punishable fine of $5,000 and two years imprisonment.