New Changes to CA Veterans & Military Code & impact to all California Counties
Since 1889, the Legislature has supported the designation of a military veteran to be responsible for the disposition of the remains of indigent veterans or their widows. Accordingly, the Legislature established a procedure whereby the local county board of supervisors could designate a recipient for the purpose of proper remains disposition.
The new code establishes procedures whereby all (not just indigent) unclaimed remains of veterans and veterans’ dependents could be identified and designated to a veterans’ remains organization (VRO) for proper burial.
• County Veterans Advocate position as stated since 1889 is given new duties in regards to unclaimed veterans. (Ensure appointment is in place or request new appointee). Appointee must:
1. Verify veteran or dependent status for all unclaimed remains with the County Coroner (submit eligibility paperwork to National Cemetery Scheduling & Verification Office (NCSEO))
2. Verify that a Veterans Remains Organization (VRO) is valid in every County and respond such to all requests from requesting individuals.(i.e. Funeral Homes, cemetery authorities, government agencies) as specified in the new code. This verifies that the personnel asking for the State/VA required information in Shasta County has the authority to receive the information and take possession of remains as may be required for funeral escort and burial purposes.)
3. Authorize read only access to County Vital Statistics Death Certificate database and authority to contact VA Regional Benefits 800 number as county representative to obtain verification of veteran/dependent status and other relevant files to unclaimed veteran/dependent status as outlined in the new Veterans & Military Code.
4. Investigate and validate to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors the indigent/unclaimed veteran status and validity of claims for payment of the $300.00 State Funds to a family, funeral home or cemetery.
5. Validate dependent eligibility for free burial in State or VA Cemetery and eligibility for waiver of $500.00 spouse or dependent fee in CA State VA cemeteries.
6. Complete burial and headstone details and sign for interment details at State or VA Cemetery. (Burials from Shasta County can be at Eagle Point VA Cemetery, Sacramento Valley VA Cemetery or Northern California Veterans Cemetery or coordinated nationwide.
7. Enter into the Veterans Remains Organization (VRO) database all information obtained in the above actions to include burial location
• County Public Administrator duties must adjusted to accommodate new requirements. (Define the duties for veterans/non-veterans requirements and who is responsible)