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Lesley Witter

Lesley Witter, National Funeral Directors Association, Director of Political Affairs


National Funeral Directors Association
Washington, DC.
November 8, 2007

The Honorable John Hall
United States House of Representatives
Chair, Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance
and Memorial Affairs
335 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

RE:  H.R. 3249 – Veterans Burial Benefits Improvement Act of 2007 and H.R. 3954 - Providing Military Honors for our Nation's Heroes Act.

Dear Chairman Hall:

With a membership that exceeds 13,000 funeral homes and over 21,000 licensed funeral directors and embalmers in all 50 states, the National Funeral Directors’ Association (NFDA) represents all funeral directors in the United States. 

As you know, Chairman Filner has introduced HR 3954; this bill would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to reimburse certain volunteers who provide funeral honors details at the funerals of veterans.  The NFDA has a great interest in veterans’ burial benefits as our members provide both funeral and burial services to our nation’s veterans on a daily basis.  The NFDA supports the reimbursement of volunteers who provide funeral honors for our nation's fallen heroes as set forth in HR 3954. 

The NFDA would also like to express our support for H.R. 3249; Veterans Burial Benefits Improvement Act of 2007.  This important legislation which was introduced by Subcommittee member Rep. Shelley Berkley, seeks to increase burial benefits for Veterans from $300 to $1,270, it also seeks to raise the plot allowance for Veterans from $300 to $745.  Our members strongly believe that the surviving spouses and dependents of military personnel who died while in active military service and the survivors of veterans who died after active service deserve an increase in burial and funeral expenses, and plot allowances, as the current allowances are insufficient.  NFDA supports an increase in burial benefits for Veterans.

The National Funeral Directors’ Association appreciates the opportunity to comment on H.R. 3249 and H.R.3954.  If you have any questions, or if the NFDA can provide further information, please contact me at 202-547-0877.

Thank you for your consideration.

Lesley Witter
Director of Political Affairs

cc:  Chairman, Bob Filner
       Representative Shelley Berkley