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 National Cemetery.
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.
State Veteran Cemeteries
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
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
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
Funeral Honors have always been provided whenever
possible. However, the low now mandates the rendering
of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran
if requested by the family. As provided by low, an
honor guard detail for the burial of on 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 Tops, Tops will be played by a
bugler, if available, at 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
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
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
Who is eligible for a
Veterans Administration establishes eligibility.
Funeral directors can assist families in obtaining
a flag, More information is available at:
How does a family request
a grave marker?
questions about grave markers, family members can
write to the VA at:
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 honors detail.
To whom can the family
write to express comments or concerns about the
Military Funeral Honors program?
may write to,
9504 IM-35 North, Suite 320
Son Antonio, TX 78233-6635