Knowledge Refresh: When Can a Funeral Home Order a SSA/VA Copy of a Death Certificate?

Be sure to share this valuable information with your staff regarding the issuance of SSA/VA certified copies.

Issuance of SSA/VA certified copies

  1. The federal government in association with the Veteran’s Affairs Office and the Social Security Administration assist eligible family members filing claims (VA or SSA) for survivor benefits and burial benefits. Eligible parties may request a certified copy with a stamp, “For Government Use Only” for use with filing these unique government claims. These copies will not be accepted by other agencies as official certified copies.
    *Note: The Social Security Administration is notified electronically once someone has passed and typically no longer requires these specially stamped certified copies. Again, please know, these certificates will not be accepted by any other agency
  2. Funeral homes may apply for eligible family members making the claim (Spouse, in some cases ex-spouses and their minor children or the guardian of the minor children)
  3. SSA/VA certified copies can only be issued one time, regardless of the amount of requestors/applicants. The Office of Vital Registration does not re-issue the SSA/VA certified copies upon return of these certificates when the funeral home or family identifies an error on their part and wishes to reapply for corrected certificates.

Funeral Home Requesting Personal Copy for VA purposes

If the funeral home is seeking reimbursement from the Veterans Administration, one certificate will be issued if the following criteria is met/submitted.

  1. A completed application, signed by the funeral director.
  2. The VSIMS record must reflect the decedent as a veteran.
  3. Was decedent in the armed Forces? Yes
  4. The decedent must have passed away in a place other than a government veterans administration facility.
  5. A completed contract for funeral services listing the funeral home of record.
  6. The Application for Burial Benefits (VA form 21-530) completed by the funeral home of record seeking reimbursement for funeral expenses.
  7. Funeral home submits the appropriate fee.

Arizona Administrative Code

R9-19-414. Services without charge

  1. Pursuant to the provisions of A.R.S. § 39-122(A), there shall be no charge for a search of the files or for a certified copy of a vital record to be used in any claim against the U.S. Government  for financial compensation for the following:
  2. Social Security or similar retirement benefits;
  3. Allotments to dependents of military personnel on active service;
  4. Pensions to veterans of the armed forces or their survivors;
  5. Payments of U.S. Government or NSLI life insurance proceeds; or
  6. Any other claim which in the opinion of the State Registrar meets the general requirements of the statute.
  7. The registrar may issue a certified copy without charge to any federal, state or local government agency when it can be determined that the record is to be used primarily for the benefit of the government agency in the transaction of official business.

For information regarding eligibility of Social Security Survivors Benefits, please refer to

For VA survivors benefits, please refer to