Thanks to Colorado Senate Bill 21-015, some veterans organizations that render military funeral honors may get a little cash to cover their expenses.
The bill, signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis on April 27, 2021, directs the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to pay $75 to congressionally-chartered veterans service organizations and auxiliaries each time they perform basic military funeral honors for veterans who have passed.
The program officially opened on Jan. 15 and is accepting requests from eligible organizations and uses an online form at https://vets.colorado.gov/.
Stipend requests from eligible veterans organizations must be submitted to DMVA within 15 days of performing the honors. They should be prepared to verify that the deceased veteran’s discharge is characterized as ‘honorable’ or ‘under honorable conditions.’
Organizations must also provide a copy of their congressional charter to the stipend manager, register as a state supplier, and receive a vendor ID number. Instructions and forms are available on the website.
Public Law 106-65 provides, at the family’s request, that at a minimum, basic military funeral honor must include a ceremony that consists of the folding and presentation of the United States burial flag to the next of kin and the playing of taps.
The law defines a military funeral honors detail as two or more former or active uniformed military persons, with at least one member from the veteran’s branch of military service.
Each year, across the state, according to the bill’s fiscal note, “there are an estimated 3,000 funerals for military veterans.” In addition, Colorado estimates the DMVA will process 100-200 applications for stipends and other reimbursements annually based on a similar stipend program in Minnesota.
The act appropriates $30,930 from the state’s general fund.
The custom of military funeral honors and covering the dead with a flag dates back to the days of the Napoleonic Wars.
The tradition has remained as a way to demonstrate gratitude to those who have served in times of war and peace.