Burial in National Cemeteries
benefits in a VA national cemetery include the gravesite, a headstone
or marker, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Many
national cemeteries have columbaria or gravesites for cremated remains.
and service members are eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery,
An eligible veteran must have been discharged or separated from active
duty under conditions other than dishonorable and have completed the
required period of service, Persons entitled to retired pay as a result
of 20 years creditable service with a reserve component are eligible.
A U.S. citizen who served in the armed forces of a government allied
with the United States in a war also may be eligible A 1997 law bars
persons convicted of federal or state capital crimes from being buried
or memorialized in one of the VA national cemeteries or in Arlington
and minor children of eligible veterans and of service members also
may be buried in a national cemetery. Adult children incapable of
self-support due to physical or mental disability are eligible for
burial. If a surviving spouse of an eligible veteran marries a nonveteran,
and remarriage was terminated by divorce or death of the nonveteran,
the spouse is eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
Gravesites in national cemeteries cannot be reserved. Funeral directors
or others making burial arrangements must apply at the time of death,
Reservations made under previous programs are honored. Cemeteries
do not provide military honors but may make referrals to military
units or volunteer groups. The National Cemetery Administration normally
does not conduct burials on weekends, A weekend caller, however, will
be directed to one of three VA cemetery offices that remain open during
weekends to schedule burials at the cemetery of the caller's choice
during the following week.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is under the jurisdiction of the Army.
Eligibility for burials is more limited than at other national cemeteries.
For information on Arlington burials, write to Superintendent, ArlingtonNational
Cemetery, Arlington, VA 22211 or call 703-695-3250.
Interior Department, State
two active national cemeteries administered by the Department of the
Interior are AndersonvilleNational Cemetery in Georgia and Andrew
Johnson National Cemetery in Tennessee, Eligibility for burial is
similar to VA cemetery eligibility. Cemeteries for veterans also are
operated by many states. For burials in these cemeteries, contact
the cemetery or the applicable state.
Headstones and Markers
provides headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of veterans
anywhere in the world and of eligible dependents of veterans buried
in national, state veteran or military post cemeteries, Flat bronze,
flat granite, flat marble, upright granite and upright marble types
are available to mark the grave in a style consistent with the cemetery,
Niche markers also are available for identifying cremated remains
in columbaria. Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name
of the deceased, branch of service, and the years of birth and death.
Optional items that may be inscribed are military grade, rank or rate;
war service such as "World War 11"; months and days of birth and death;
an emblem reflecting one's religion, and text indicating valor awards.
When burial is in a national, state veteran or military post cemetery,
the headstone or marker is offered through the cemetery, which will
place it on the grave, Information on style, inscription and shipping
can be obtained from the cemetery, When burial occurs in a cemetery
other than a national, military post or state veterans' cemetery,
the headstone or marker must be applied for from VA. It is shipped
at government expense. VA, however, does not pay the cost of placing
the headstone or marker To apply, complete VA Form 40-1330 and forward
it to Director, Memorial Programs Service (403A), Department of Veterans
Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20420. Forms and assistance
are available at VA regional offices, For information regarding the
status of an application, write to the Director, Memorial Programs
Service (4MA), or call 1-800-697-6947, VA cannot issue a headstone
or marker for a spouse or child buried in a private cemetery- Twenty-year
reservists generally are eligible for a headstone or grave marker.
Headstones or Markers
for Memorial Plots
memorialize an eligible veteran whose remains are not available for
burial, VA will provide a memorial headstone or marker, The headstone
or marker is the same as that used to identify a grave except that
the phrase "In Memory of" precedes the inscription. The headstone
or marker is available to memorialize eligible veterans or deceased
service members whose remains were not recovered or identified, were
buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and scattered. The
memorial marker also may be provided for placement in a cemetery other
than a national cemetery, In such cases, VA supplies the marker and
pays the cost of shipping, but does not pay for the plot or the placement
of the marker.
Presidential Memorial Certificates express the nation's recognition
of veterans' service. Certificates bearing the signature of the President
are issued honoring deceased veterans with honorable discharges. Eligible
recipients include next of kin and other loved ones. The award of
a certificate to one eligible recipient does not preclude certificates
to other eligible recipients- The veteran may have died at any time
in the past. Requests for a certificate must be accompanied by a copy
of a document such as a discharge to establish honorable service.
VA regional offices can assist in applying for certificates.
provides an American flag to drape the casket of a veteran or a reservist
entitled to retired military pay. After the funeral service, the flag
may be given to the next of kin or a close associate. Flags are issued
at VA regional offices and national cemeteries, and post offices.
Reimbursement of Burial
will pay a burial allowance up to $1,500 if the veteran's death is
service-connected. In some instances, VA also will pay the cost of
transporting the remains of a service disabled veteran to the national
cemetery nearest the home of the deceased that has available gravesites.
In such cases, the person who bore the veteran's burial expenses may
claim reimbursement from VA. VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral
expense allowance for veterans who, at time of death, were entitled
to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled to
compensation but for receipt of military retirement pay. Eligibility
also may be established when death occurs in a VA facility, a nursing
home under VA contract or a state nursing home. Additional costs of
transportation of the remains may be paid, There is no time limit
for filing reimbursement claims of service-connected deaths. In other
deaths, claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial
or cremation. VA will pay a $160 plot allowance when a veteran is
not buried in a cemetery that is under US. government jurisdiction
under the following circumstances: the veteran was discharged from
active duty because of disability incurred or aggravated in the line
of duty-, the veteran was in receipt of compensation or pension or
would have been except for receiving military retired pay; or the
veteran died in a VA facility. The $150 plot allowance may be paid
to the state if a veteran is buried without charge for the cost of
a plot or interment in a state-owned cemetery reserved solely for
veteran burials- Burial expenses paid by the deceased's employer or
a state agency will not be reimbursed, For information on monetary
benefits, call 1-800-827-1000.
Contacting the Veteran
Depending on their circumstances, military veterans and their dependents
are entitled to a variety of benefits beyond these burial benefits.
Contact should be made to the Veterans Affairs Office to determine
what benefits can be claimed and then gather the information required.
National Toll-free Number for the Veterans Affairs Office is 800-827-1000.
What is new about Military
Military Funeral Honors have always been provided whenever possible. However, the law now mandates the rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran if requested by the family. As provided by law, an honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran shall consist of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps, Taps will be played by a bugler, if available, or by electronic recording. Today, there are so few buglers available that the Military Services often cannot provide one.
Who is eligible for Military
Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve
Former military members who served on active duty and departed
under conditions other than dishonorable.
Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment
or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve
and departed under conditions other than dishonorable
Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due
to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
clarification on eligibility is available in United States Code.
Who is not eligible for
Military Funeral Honors?
person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions
or whose character of service results in a bar to veteran's benefits.
person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but
was not actually inducted into military service.
person discharged from the Selected Reserve prior to completing
vile term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service
for reasons other than a disability incurred or aggravated in
the line of duty
person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced
to death or life imprisonment or in flight to avoid prosecution.
How much does a Military
Funeral Honors detail cost?
Funeral Honors are provided by the Department of Defense at no cost
to the family.
What can the family of
an eligible veteran expect?
rare elements of the funeral honors ceremony, which will be conducted
on request, include;
- Playing of Taps
veteran's parent Service representative will present the flag.
Who is eligible for a
Veterans Administration establishes eligibility. Funeral directors
can assist families in obtaining a flag, More information is available
How does a family request
a grave marker?
questions about grave markers, family members can write to the VA
Programs Service (403)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave , NW
Washington, DC 2042Q
information available at:
How much notice should
be provided for the honors request?
Services requests at least 48 hours in order to organize the funeral
To whom can the family
write to express comments or concerns about the Military Funeral Honors
may write to,
9504 IM-35 North, Suite 320
Son Antonio, TX 78233-6635