A veteran is entitled to a headstone or grave marker if buried or commemorated in a national cemetery, state veterans’ cemetery, or National Park cemetery. By request, the VA is also responsible for headstone or marker embellishments for an unmarked grave of a deceased eligible veteran (“Eligibility for Military burial”).
The VA is also responsible for headstones or markers already marked with a private headstone or maker for eligible veterans who died on or after November 1, 1990.
The VA doesn’t charge for headstones or markers provided but requires the submission of appropriate paperwork (“Obtaining markers and headstones”).
Organization of placement in a private cemetery are the responsibility of the applicant though there is no charge for the headstone or marker itself. All setting costs are at private expense.
There are various types of marker and headstones the VA offers:
- Upright headstones: Upright headstones weigh 230 pounds, available in marble or granite at 42 inches high, 13 inches wide, and 4 inches thick.
- Flat grave markers: Flat grave markers weigh 18 pounds and are available in bronze at 24 inches long and 12 inches wide, with a ¾-inch rise. Flat granite and flat marble grave markers weigh 130 pounds and are 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 4 inches thick. Anchor bolts, nuts, and washers for fastening to a base are embellished with the marker, but the government doesn’t embellish the base.
- Bronze niche marker: Bronze niche markers weigh approximately 3 pounds at 8 ½ inches long, 5 ½ inches wide, with a 7/16-inch rise. Mounting bolts and washers are embellished with the marker.
- Private headstone or marker medallion: Embellished in the absence of traditional government headstone or markers to veterans who died on or after November 1, 1990, whose grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker.
Unless they have been buried in a national cemetery, National Park Service cemetery, Arlington, or state veterans’ cemetery, spouses and dependents aren’t eligible for government-decorated headstones or markers.