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VA Burial and Memorial Benefits 

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Eligibility The Veteran does not have to predecease a spouse or dependent child for them to be eligible. Reservists and National Guard members, as well as their spouses and dependent children, are eligible if they were entitled to retired pay at the time of death, or would have been if over age 60.

Burial in VA National Cemeteries

Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible Veterans, their spouses and dependents at no cost to the Family and includes the gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker and perpetual care as part of a national shrine. For Veterans, benefits also include a burial flag and military funeral honors. Family members and other loved ones of deceased Veterans may request Presidential Memorial Certificates. VA operates 125 national cemeteries, of which 65 are open for new casketed interments and 21 are open to accept only cremated remains.

Surviving Spouses of Veterans who died on or after January 1, 2000, do not lose eligibility for burial in a national cemetery if they remarry. Burial of dependent children is limited to unmarried children under 21 years of age, or under 23 years of age if a full-time student at an approved educational institution.

Headstones and Markers: Veterans, Retired Reservists and National Guard Service-members are eligible for an inscribed headstone or marker for their grave at any cemetery – national, state Veterans or private. Inscription: Headstones and markers must be inscribed with the name of the deceased, branch of service and year of birth and death.

Private Cemeteries: To apply for a headstone or marker for a private cemetery, mail a completed VA Form 40-1330 (available at www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330.pdf), Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker, and a copy of the Veteran’s military discharge document to Memorial Programs Service (41A1), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Rd., Quantico, VA 22134-3903. The application and supporting documents may also be faxed toll-free at 1-800-455-7143.

Presidential Memorial Certificates are issued upon request to recognize the military service of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. Next of kin, relatives and friends may apply for a certificate by mailing a completed VA Form 40-0247, Presidential Memorial Certificate Request Form and a copy of the Veteran’s military discharge document to Presidential Memorial Certificates (41A1C), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Rd., Quantico, VA 22134-3903. The request form and supporting documents may also be faxed toll free at 1-800-455-7143.

Burial Flags: VA will furnish a U.S. burial flag for memorialization of Veterans who were entitled to retired pay for service in the Reserve or National Guard, or would have been entitled if over age 60.

Burial Allowance: VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral allowance for Veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled if they weren’t receiving military retirement pay.

Military Funeral Honors: Upon request, DoD will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of “Taps.” Family members should inform their funeral directors if they want military funeral honors. DoD maintains a toll-free number (1-877-MIL-HONR) for use by funeral directors only to request honors.

Veterans Cemeteries Administered by Other Agencies

Arlington National Cemetery: Administered by the Department of the Army. Eligibility is more restrictive than at VA national cemeteries. For information, call (703) 607-8000, write Superintendent, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA 22211, or visit www.arlingtoncemetery.org

State Veterans Cemeteries: Sixty-nine state Veterans cemeteries offer burial options for Veterans and their Families. These cemeteries have similar eligibility requirements but usually require some residence. Some services, particularly for Family members, may require a fee. Contact the state cemetery or state Veterans Affairs office for information. To locate a state Veterans cemetery, visit www.cem.va.gov/cem/scg/lsvc.asp