Burial Benefits / Federal Cemeteries
The Veterans Affairs (VA) will issue a United States flag, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased Veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. The VA will also issue a flag for a veteran who is missing in action and is later presumed dead. After the funeral service, the flag may be given to the next-of-kin or close friend or associate of the deceased. Flags are issued at any VA office, VA national cemetery and most local post offices.
Headstones or Markers
The VA will furnish, upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker to mark the grave of an eligible veteran buried in a national, military post or base, state veterans cemetery, private cemetery, or whose remains were cremated and the ashes scattered without interment. Monuments are also provided for eligible dependents of veterans who are buried in national, military post or base cemeteries or state veterans' cemeteries. Dependents buried in private cemeteries are not eligible for a headstone or marker.
Memorial monuments are provided for eligible, individual veterans whose remains are not recovered or identified, buried at sea, or are otherwise unavailable for interment. The monuments bear an "In Memory of' inscription as their first line.
A VA form 40-1330 is used in requesting a headstone or marker, and must be accompanied by the Veteran's DD214 or other separation document. Your local funeral director or county veteran service officer will help you complete this form.
Presidential Memorial Certificates
A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased Veterans.
The program was initiated in March 1962 by President John F. Kennedy and has been continued by all subsequent Presidents. Statutory authority for the program is Section 112, Title 38, of the United States Code. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the PMC program by preparing the certificates which bear the current President's signature expressing the country's grateful recognition of the Veteran's service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Eligible recipients include the next of kin and loved ones of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. More than one certificate may be provided. Eligible recipients, or someone acting on their behalf, may apply for a PMC in person at any VA regional office or by U.S. mail or toll-free fax by completing VA Form 40-0247. Requests cannot be sent via email. Please be sure to enclose a copy of the Veteran's DD214 or other separation document to verify eligibility.
Interment in National Cemeteries
VA operates the National Cemetery System. The interment of a deceased veteran of wartime or peacetime service and any person who died in the active military, air, or naval service, whose service (other than for training) terminated other than dishonorably, will be authorized in any cemetery in which grave space is available. Deceased spouses, minor children, and certain adult dependent children of an eligible veteran are also eligible. There is no charge for a grave in a national cemetery. A headstone or marker with appropriate inscription for each decedent buried in a grave will be provided by the government. Application for burial can be made by the next of kin or their funeral director, only at the time of death of the veteran (or that of an eligible dependent) by contacting the Director of the National Cemetery where burial is desired.
Transportation of Deceased Veteran to a National Cemetery
- The VA may pay the cost of transportation of a deceased veteran for burial in a national cemetery when:
- The veteran dies of a service connected disability.
- The veteran was in receipt of (but for the receipt of retired pay or disability pension would have been entitled to) disability compensation.
Payment shall not exceed the cost of transportation to the national cemetery nearest the veteran's last place of residence in which burial space is available.
Reimbursement of Burial Expenses
The VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral expense allowance for deceased veterans who were, at the time of death, entitled to receive pension or compensation, or would have been entitled to receive compensation but for the receipt of military retired pay. Eligibility is also established when death occurs in a VA facility or in a contract nursing home to which the deceased was properly admitted.
In addition, the VA will pay a $700 plot or interment allowance if the requirements for the burial allowance are met, or if the deceased was discharged from active duty because of disability which was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty. The plot allowance is not payable if the veteran is buried in a national cemetery. If the veteran is buried without charge for the cost of a plot or interment in a state owned cemetery, used solely for burying persons eligible for burial in a national cemetery, the $700 plot allowance may be paid to the state.
For veterans who die of a service-connected disability, the VA will pay a burial allowance (PDF) up to $2,000 in lieu of other burial benefits. Claim for non service connected burial allowance must be filed within 2 years after burial or cremation. There is no time limit for filing a claim for service-connected benefits.
Who is Eligible for Burial in a National Cemetery?
- Veterans of wartime and peacetime service prior to September 7, 1980, who were discharged from active military service under conditions other than dishonorable.
- Service after September 7, 1980, must be for a minimum of 24 months or have special circumstances.
- Persons whose deaths occurred while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Veterans' dependents who are buried in national, military post or base cemeteries and in state veterans' cemeteries. (Divorce or remarriage terminates eligibility for the non veteran spouse.)