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Burials and Memorials

VA honors the service and sacrifice of Veterans and their family members.

Overview of memorial benefits

How to Apply

To find out in advance if a Veteran or family member is eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery, click “Apply for Pre-Need Burial Eligibility” to fill out and submit the application.

If pre-need eligibility has not been determined, upon the death of the Veteran or his or her spouse or dependent (also called the time of need), family members should locate the Veteran’s DD-214 or other discharge papers if readily available and click “Schedule a Burial” to begin the process. Then make arrangements with a funeral home, National Cemetery Scheduling Office, or directly with a VA national cemetery.

VA Memorial Benefits

VA takes special care to pay lasting tribute to the memory of Veterans who served and sacrificed and that of their families. VA meticulously maintains 155 VA national cemeteries in 44 states and Puerto Rico and is working to increase access to accommodate Veterans and eligible family members close to home. In a few years, 95 percent of Veterans will have a burial option in an open VA, state or tribal veterans cemetery located within 75 miles of their home.

Note that most if not all of these benefits may be provided for Veterans who are interred in a State, Territorial or Tribal Veterans cemetery. Check with the cemetery to ensure coverage. Some benefits are also available for Veterans who choose burial in a private cemetery.

Veterans with a qualifying discharge are entitled to VA burial benefits. Spouses and dependent children are eligible too, even if they predecease the Veteran.

The following burial benefits may be provided:

Burial in a VA national cemetery

  • Opening and closing of the grave or burial of cremated remains or placement in an above-ground vault, also called a columbarium
  • A government furnished grave liner
  • Perpetual care of the gravesite
  • A headstone or marker with an inscription
  • A burial flag
  • A Presidential Memorial Certificate
  • Transportation of flower arrangements from the committal service shelter to the gravesite

Burial in a private cemetery

Please note that gravesites in a VA national cemetery cannot be reserved in advance. To prepare for a private cemetery burial, VA suggests families review these questions and complete required forms in advance.

VA Requirements

Discharge papers to establish your eligibility for burial services

VA Application Process

Burial in a VA national cemetery
  • To determine eligibility before the time of need:
    • Submit VA Form 40-10007 along with a copy of the DD-214 (do not send originals) or supporting documentation of military service if readily available by:
      • Toll-free fax at 1-855-840-8299
      • Mail to:
        National Cemetery Scheduling Office
        P.O. Box 510543
        St. Louis, MO 63151
    • VA will review pre-need burial applications and provide written notice of a determination of eligibility.
    • VA will store the pre-need application, supporting documentation, and the decision letter to expedite burial arrangements at the time of need.
  • To request burial at the time of need when eligibility has been determined:
    • At the time of need family members should contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117.
    • VA will locate your pre-need decision letter and validate the determination.
    • VA will verify pre-need decisions in accordance with the laws in effect at that time.
  • To establish eligibility at the time of need:
    • At the time of need, family members should scan and email the DD-214 form or other discharge papers if readily available to NCA.Scheduling@va.gov or fax them to 1-866-900-6417 and follow up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
    • Make arrangements with a funeral home, National Cemetery Scheduling Office or directly with a VA national cemetery.
    • Although burial plots cannot be reserved, you can plan ahead by safeguarding military discharge papers and discussing end-of-life planning with loved ones.
Burial in a private cemetery
  • To receive a headstone, marker, or medallion:
    • Visit the national cemetery administration headstones, markers, and medallions page to download and fill out VA form 40-1330.
    • Return your completed form with a copy of the Veteran’s DD-214 (do not send originals) to:
      Memorial Programs Service (41B)
      Department of Veterans Affairs
      5109 Russell Road
      Quantico, VA 22134-3903
    • Or fax claims and supporting documents to 1-800-455-7143. If you are submitting more than one claim, fax each claim package (claim and supporting documents) in individual fax transmissions.
  • To receive a burial flag:
  • To receive a Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC):
  • To apply for a VA Burial Allowance:
    • Download and fill out VA Form 21-530.
    • Mail your completed form with a copy of the Veteran’s DD-214 (do not send originals), death certificate, paid receipts, and other applicable documentation to the VBA regional office located in your state. You can find a benefits office on the Facility Locator Page.
    • You can also apply online.

You can learn more about VA Burial Allowances and eligibility on this special compensation overview page.

Eligibility

Some benefits may also be used by active service members, reservists, and National Guard members as well as eligible spouses, children, and survivors of Veterans and service members. Consult the VA benefits booklet or visit the nearest VA regional office for character of discharge requirements and more detailed information.

Page last updated on July 22, 2021

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