How can I get a copy of 'the Cause of Death' Certificate of my ex/late husband?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 16, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Vital Statistics of the FL Dept of Health refused me a copy of the cause of death cert as I was divorced from my husband who died of Agent Orange. We were married 11 yrs - together 14 yrs until he became too dangerous to be around. He told his buddy he wanted me to have the benefits. I'm only looking into it now as I'm told by several VA people that I am eligible BUTTTT, I need the 'Cause of Death' cert. Can you help direct me?

Expert Answers

Rebekah Peoples, CFSP, CPC, Is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is passionate about serving others and believes that giving clients honest, accurate information empowers them to create tributes and services that are meaningful and appropriate. Her tips about funerals and life can be found at

Probably the easiest way to get one is to call the funeral home who handled his services and explain that you believe you are entitled to veteran's survivors benefits and that you need a copy of the death certificate. You will probably have to pay the cost of the certificate if you need a certified copy and it may take a few weeks if he died more than a month ago, but this should get you the copy you need.

If the funeral home suggests that you contact Vital Statistics yourself, just explain that you could not get one since you are divorced, and they can apply for it with their relationship as his funeral director.

Community Answers

Lallaland answered...

Thank you so much for your reply but I don't tknow the funeral home is actually privy to the 'Cause' of Death. It's easy enough to get a death certificate online but the 'Cause' is the problem.... that's the difficult part. I don't know if an autopsy was done but some one had to write down the 'cause' and it's on a certificate somewhere. Also, I don't know the name of the funeral home as I was notified after he was buried. I will check the obits at that time though in Jacksonville and check the funeral home just in case. Thank you again.

Rebekah peoples answered...

The funeral home is absolutely aware of the cause of death. It's their responsibility to get the doctor to fill in the cause of death and sign the death certificate.

Your idea of finding the funeral home name through an obituary is good. Most obituaries can be found online with a search of the person's name and some other word such as the name of the city or name of another survivor.

Also, there's a good chance that the VA is already aware of his death if he was buried in a veteran's cemetery or if there was an application for a veteran's grave marker. You could probably find out the funeral home name by calling the veteran's cemetery.

Lallaland answered...

Thank you so much Rebekah........... I'll certainly take your advice. I truly appreciate your help. All the best.