EligibilityVeterans discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and service members who die while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, as well as spouses and dependent children of Veterans and active duty service members, may be eligible for VA burial and memorial benefits. The Veteran does not have to die before a spouse or dependent child for them to be eligible.
VA’s National Cemetery Scheduling Office or local national cemetery directors verify eligibility for burial. A copy of the Veteran’s discharge document that specifies the period(s) of active duty and character of discharge is usually sufficient to determine eligibility. In some instances, a copy of the deceased’s death certificate and proof of relationship to the Veteran (for eligible family members) may be required.
Under Section 2411 of Title 38 of the United States Code, certain otherwise eligible individuals found to have committed federal or state capital crimes are barred from
burial or memorialization in a VA national cemetery, and from receipt of government-furnished headstones, markers, burial flags, and Presidential Memorial
Veterans and other claimants for VA burial benefits have the right to appeal decisions made by VA regarding eligibility for national cemetery burial or other memorial benefits.
Questions about the full range of VA burial and memorial benefits may be directed to the nearest national cemetery, located by calling 1-800-827-1000, or visiting
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 131 national cemeteries, of which 71 are open for new casketed interments and 19 are open to accept only cremated remains. Burial options are limited to those available at a specific cemetery but may include in-ground casket, or interment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in ground or in a scatter garden. Contact the national cemetery directly, or visit www.cem.va.gov to determine if a particular cemetery is open for new burials, and which other options are available.
The funeral director or the next of kin makes interment arrangements by contacting the National Cemetery Scheduling Office or national cemetery in which burial is desired. VA normally does not conduct burials on weekends. Gravesites cannot be reserved; however, VA will honor reservations made under previous programs.