Chapter § 35B of the Code of Iowa outlines the legal basis for the emergency assistance program. In Johnson County, the Veterans Affairs program is administered by the Veterans Affairs Director under the supervision of the Commission of Veterans Affairs and the Board of Supervisors.

1. Eligibility requirements

  1. "Veteran" means a person residing in Johnson County for at least 30 days with the intent to remain and meets the criteria per Iowa Code 35.1 (available online and in the VA office)
  2. Emergency assistance aids indigent Veterans who meet the eligibility criteria and who have income level at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines
  3. Current bank statements and a list of assets must be presented to the Veterans Affairs Director
  4. All assets, debts, and expenses belonging to the decedent and surviving immediate family members (parents or children) who reside in the same household will be considered when determining eligibility

2. General description

The family of the decedent, or the person who has the right to control the final disposition of remains according to Iowa Code §144C.5 must contact Johnson County Veterans Affairs before making burial/cremation arrangements. This notification is to determine the eligibility of the decedent for emergency assistance and to communicate the limitations of the assistance.

The Commission of Veterans Affairs may authorize a one-time payment of up to $5,000 for the burial/cremation expenses incurred by an eligible Veteran or an eligible dependent family member. Johnson County does not pay sales tax. Payment will be made directly to the funeral service provider and/or cemetery. Limitations of the assistance are detailed as follows:

  1. Eligible funeral service provider expenses  - up to a maximum of $4,000
    1. Burial or cremation
    2. Use of funeral service provider facilities
    3. Casket, grave liner (outer enclosure), rental casket or temporary urn
    4. Embalming
    5. Fees and permits, e.g. cremation permit
    6. Memorial service
    7. Transportation of the decedent from the place of death to the funeral service provider establishment
  2. Eligible cemetery expenses – up to a maximum of $1000
    1. Plot purchase
    2. Grave opening/closing
  3. Optional family/friends purchased items/services – up to a maximum of $400
    1. Additional items or services may be purchased from the funeral service provider or cemetery by the family/friends of the decedent
    2. Applications for assistance should be made prior to formalizing any arrangements with the funeral home.  If an agreement with the funeral home is reached and signed on or before Veterans Affairs Assistance funding is secured, the application for benefits may be denied.
    3. Payment for out-of-state funerals will not be provided.

The Veterans Affairs Director will inform the decedent’s family of the option for burial at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, the National Cemetery in Keokuk, or the Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, Ill.

The Veterans Affairs Director will inform the funeral director and the decedent’s family of the option of using donated cemetery plots. Plots that have been donated for indigent Veterans who qualify under the Johnson County Veterans Affairs Temporary Emergency Assistance Program Policy and Procedures.

All insurance proceeds, Social Security death benefits, and other financial resources and assets of items purchased by family/friends of the decedent will be deducted from the total cost listed on the funeral service provider invoice. The Johnson County payment will be limited to this invoice.

The Department of Veterans Affairs may provide a headstone or marker for the grave and a flag upon application from either the funeral director or the Johnson County Commission of Veterans Affairs, if eligibility requirements are met.

The Director will assist in filling out all applicable VA forms for the Federal Programs and the County Program application.



Created:10-23-2013 Revised: 8-24-2021