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Burials & Memorials

The VA provides burial services for eligible veterans, including

  1. Burial honors, including burial flags and Presidential Memorial Certificates

      2. Government headstones or grave markers

     3.Grave sites at national cemeteries

     4.Perpetual care of the grave site

     5.Financial assistance for burial and transportation costs

Burial Benefits Eligibility

Veterans who began service before 9/7/1980 (enlisted) or 10/16/1981 (officer) and are discharged under conditions other than dishonorable are eligible for burial benefits.

  • Veterans who began service after 9/7/1980 (enlisted) or 10/16/1981 (officer) and are discharged under conditions other than dishonorable must have served at least 24 continuous months of active duty, or the full term of active duty service for which they were called.
  • Veterans who are convicted of a capital crime (involving life in prison or the death penalty) are not eligible.

Surviving unremarried spouses are eligible even in if their veteran spouse is not buried in a national cemetery.

Unmarried children under the age of 21, under the age of 23 if enrolled as a full-time student, or at any age if permanently incapacitated are eligible.

Burial Benefits Covered Expenses

Burial Allowance: A one-time payment toward the expenses related to veteran’s funeral and burial or disposal or remains, including cremation, burial at sea, or donation of the remains to a medical school.

Plot or Internment Allowance: A one-time payment toward burial expenses:

  • Incurred for plot or internment in any cemetery other than a national or federal government-run cemetery
  • Payable to a state- or municipality-run cemetery for non-service-connected death and burial costs if the veteran was otherwise eligible to be buried in a national cemetery.

Transportation Expenses: Reimbursement for costs incurred in the transportation of the veteran’s body when:

  • The veteran died of or was being compensated for a service-connected disability and is being buried in a national cemetery, or
  • The veteran died in an VA-approved or VA-run hospital or nursing home, or
  • The veteran died while travelling for VA-related care.

To apply for VA Burial Benefits, visit http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21P-530-ARE.pdf to download VA Form 21P-530, “Application for Burial Benefits.”

VA Cemeteries

There are 133 national cemeteries in the United States as well as 33 soldier’s lots and monument sites.

State veterans’ cemeteries have similar requirements for burial eligibility as VA cemeteries, but are run independently of the VA under the Veterans Cemetery Grants Program.  State cemeteries usually require that the veteran was a resident of the state at the time of death.

To find the nearest national or state cemetery, visit http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/listcem.asp.

To schedule a veteran’s burial at a VA national or state cemetery, provide the funeral home with a copy of the veteran’s military service record, or DD Form 214.

To apply for a copy of the veteran’s DD 214, visit the National Archives website at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.

2 comments

  1. My brother-in-law, Theodore G. Jezowski, was a Navy vet, having served as a ship’s radioman during the Korean War. He was married to my sister, Marietta (Messina) Jezowski. Ted passed away in January of 2012 & is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Lynn, MA. Upon my last visit to the cemetery visiting family & friends, I noticed there is no plaque in the ground, in front of his headstone, depicting his military service. I don’t recall it taking this long to get one in the ground after a vet passes. Any information you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you from an Air Force veteran.

    • Veterans Authority

      To obtain the status of headstones or markers ordered for national or state cemeteries, please contact the cemetery directly.

      To obtain the status of headstones or markers ordered for private cemeteries, please use the following instructions: If more than 30 days have passed since your claim was submitted to the VA in Washington, D.C. by you, or someone assisting you, please call our Applicant Assistance Unit to verify we are in receipt of your claim.

      If more than 60 days have passed since submitting your claim and the grave is still not marked, you should contact the cemetery, funeral home, or other party responsible for accepting delivery of the headstone, marker or medallion to see if they have received it. If they have not received it, you may call our Applicant Assistance Unit between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday, at 1-800-697-6947.

      For more info, you can visit: http://www.cem.va.gov/hmm/

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