EligibilityVeterans discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and service members who die while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training as well as spouses and dependent children of veterans and active duty servicemembers, may be eligible for VA burial and memorial benefits.
The veteran does not have to pre-decease a spouse or dependent child for them to be eligible.
With certain exceptions, active duty service beginning after Sept. 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and after Oct. 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 consecutive months or the full period of active duty (as in the case of reservists or National Guard members called to active duty for a limited duration).
Eligibility is not established by active duty for training in the reserves or National Guard.
Reservists and National Guard members, as well as their spouses and
dependent children, are eligible if they were entitled to retired pay
at the time of death, or would have been if over age 60.
Call 1-800-827-1000, or visit the Web site at http://www.cem.va.gov/.
Burial in VA National Cemeteries
Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible veterans,
their spouses and dependents at no cost to the family and includes the
gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone
or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine. For
veterans, benefits also include a burial flag (with case for active
duty) and military funeral honors. Family members and other loved ones
of deceased veterans may request Presidential Memorial Certificates.
Surviving spouses of veterans who died on or after Jan. 1, 2000, do not lose eligibility for burial in a national cemetery if they remarry. Burial of dependent children is limited to unmarried children under 21 years of age, or under 23 years of age if a full-time student at an approved educational institution. Unmarried adult children who become physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-support before age 21, or age 23 if a full-time student, also are eligible for burial.
Headstones and Markers: Veterans, active duty
service members, retired Reservists, and National Guard service members
are eligible for an inscribed headstone or marker for their grave at
any cemetery -- national, state veterans, or private. VA will deliver a
headstone or marker at no cost, anywhere in the world. For certain
veterans whose deaths occurred on or after Nov. 1, 1990, VA may provide
a government headstone or marker even if the grave is already marked
with a private one. Spouses and dependent children are eligible for a
government headstone or marker only if they are buried in a national or
state veterans cemetery.
Inscription: Headstones and markers must be
with the name of the deceased, branch of service, and year of birth and
death. They also may be inscribed with other markings, including an
authorized emblem of belief and, space permitting, additional text
including military rank; war service such as "World War II;" complete
dates of birth and death; military awards; military organizations;
civilian or veteran affiliations; and words of endearment.
"In Memory Of" Markers: VA provides memorial
headstones and markers, bearing the inscription "In Memory Of" as the
first line, to memorialize those whose remains were not recovered or
identified, were buried at sea, donated to science or cremated and
scattered. Eligibility is the same for regular headstones and markers.
There is no fee when the "In Memory Of" marker is placed in a national
cemetery. Any fees associated with placement in another cemetery will
not be reimbursed by VA.
Presidential Memorial Certificates are issued upon
request to recognize the military service of honorably discharged
deceased veterans. Next of kin, relatives and friends may apply for a
certificate by mailing a completed VA Form 40-0247 (available at http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-0247.pdf),
Presidential Memorial Certificate Request Form, and a copy of the
veteran’s military discharge document to Presidential Memorial
Certificates (41A1C), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Rd.,
Quantico, VA 22134-3903. The request form and supporting documents may
also be faxed toll free at 1-800-455-7143.
Reimbursement of Burial Expenses: VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the veteran’s death is service-connected. In such cases, the person who bore the veteran’s burial expenses may claim reimbursement from VA.
In some cases, VA will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a service-connected veteran to the nearest national cemetery with available gravesites. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims in service-connected death cases.
Burial Allowance: VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral allowance for veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled if they weren’t receiving military retirement pay. Eligibility also may be established when death occurs in a VA facility, a VA-contracted nursing home or a state veterans nursing home. In non service-connected death cases, claims must be filed within two years after burial or cremation.
Plot Allowance: VA will pay a $300 plot allowance
when a veteran is buried in a cemetery not under U.S. government
jurisdiction if: the veteran was discharged from active duty because of
disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; the veteran was
receiving compensation or pension or would have been if the veteran was
not receiving military retired pay; or the veteran died in a VA
Arlington National Cemetery: Administered by the Department of the Army. Eligibility is more restrictive than at VA national cemeteries. For information, call (703) 607-8000, write Superintendent, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA 22211, or visit http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/.