27 Feb Burials & Memorials
The VA provides burial services for eligible veterans, including
- Burial honors, including burial flags and Presidential Memorial Certificates
- Government headstones or grave markers
- Grave sites at national cemeteries
- Perpetual care of the grave site
- 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 were 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 were 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 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 disabled 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 a VA-approved or VA-run hospital or nursing home, or
- The veteran died while traveling for VA-related care.
To apply for VA Burial Benefits, visit https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21P-530-ARE.pdf to download VA Form 21P-530, “Application for Burial Benefits.”
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 https://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 https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records.