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Merchant Marine Burial and Cemetery Benefits

Benefit Category: Federal

United States Merchant Mariners who served in ocean going service during December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946, are considered "active duty" under the provisions of Public Laws 95-202 and 105-368.

Information on how to obtain a DD214

Request DD214 from US Coast Guard 



‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The qualified service of a person referred
to in paragraph (2) shall be considered to be active duty in
the Armed Forces during a period of war for purposes of eligibility
for benefits under the following provisions of title 38:
‘‘(A) Chapter 23 (relating to burial benefits).
‘‘(B) Chapter 24 (relating to interment in national
‘‘(2) COVERED INDIVIDUALS.—Paragraph (1) applies to a
person who—
‘‘(A) receives an honorable service certificate under
section 11203 of this title; and
‘‘(B) is not eligible under any other provision of law
for benefits under laws administered by the Secretary of
Veterans Affairs.


shall reimburse the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the value
of benefits that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs provides for a
person by reason of eligibility under this section.


‘‘(1) GENERAL RULE.—Benefits may be provided under the
provisions of law referred to in subsection (a)(1) by reason
of this chapter only for deaths occurring after the date of
the enactment of this chapter.
paragraph (1), in the case of an initial burial or 
columbarium placement after the date of the enactment of
this chapter, benefits may be provided under chapter 24 of
title 38 by reason of this chapter (regardless of the date of
death), and in such a case benefits may be provided under
section 2306 of such title.

Qualified service

‘‘For purposes of this chapter, a person shall be considered
to have engaged in qualified service if, between August 16, 1945,
and December 31, 1946, the person—
‘‘(1) was a member of the United States merchant marine
(including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport
Service) serving as a crewmember of a vessel that was—
‘‘(A) operated by the War Shipping Administration or
the Office of Defense Transportation (or an agent of the
Administration or Office);
‘‘(B) operated in waters other than inland waters, the
Great Lakes, and other lakes, bays, and harbors of the
United States;
‘‘(C) under contract or charter to, or property of, the
Government of the United States; and
‘‘(D) serving the Armed Forces; and
‘‘(2) while so serving, was licensed or otherwise documented
for service as a crewmember of such a vessel by an officer
or employee of the United States authorized to license or document
the person for such service.

Documentation of qualified service

‘‘(a) RECORD OF SERVICE.—The Secretary, or in the case of
personnel of the Army Transport Service or the Naval Transport
Service, the Secretary of Defense, shall, upon application—
‘‘(1) issue a certificate of honorable service to a person
who, as determined by that Secretary, engaged in qualified
service of a nature and duration that warrants issuance of
the certificate; and
‘‘(2) correct, or request the appropriate official of the Federal
Government to correct, the service records of that person
to the extent necessary to reflect the qualified service and
the issuance of the certificate of honorable service.
‘‘(b) TIMING OF DOCUMENTATION.—A Secretary receiving an
application under subsection (a) shall act on the application not
later than 1 year after the date of that receipt.
‘‘(c) STANDARDS RELATING TO SERVICE.—In making a determination
under subsection (a)(1), the Secretary acting on the application
shall apply the same standards relating to the nature and duration
of service that apply to the issuance of honorable discharges under
section 401(a)(1)(B) of the GI Bill Improvement Act of 1977 (38
U.S.C. 106 note).
‘‘(d) CORRECTION OF RECORDS.—An official who is requested
under subsection (a)(2) to correct the service records of a person
shall make such correction.

Processing fees

‘‘(a) COLLECTION OF FEES.—The Secretary, or in the case of
personnel of the Army Transport Service or the Naval Transport
Service, the Secretary of Defense, shall collect a fee of $30 from
each applicant for processing an application submitted under section
11203(a) of this title.
‘‘(b) TREATMENT OF FEES COLLECTED.—Amounts received by
the Secretary under this section shall be deposited in the General
Fund of the Treasury as offsetting receipts of the department in
which the Coast Guard is operating and ascribed to Coast Guard
activities. Amounts received by the Secretary of Defense under
this section shall be deposited in the General Fund of the Treasury
as offsetting receipts of the Department of Defense. In either case,
such amounts shall be available, subject to appropriation, for the
administrative costs of processing applications under section 11203
of this title.’’.

Discharge Requests

Most Veteran’s benefits require that applicants provide a copy of their Form DD 214 or discharge record, which is evidence of their veteran status. This is an important document and must be safeguarded. In the State of North Dakota separation documents are considered confidential and privileged NDCC 37-18-11 (13). National Guard members may receive a NGB22 and /or NGB23 upon obtaining 20 years of satisfactory service (20 year letter).