Burial and Memorial Benefits for Veterans

by Levi Newman on August 2, 2010

To honor the men and women who have proudly served the United States of America, the Department of Veteran Affairs offers Burial and Memorial benefits. Although the VA is not responsible for making funeral arrangements or for performing cremations, and require that these services are paid by the service members family, the department still offers other benefits to help memorialize veterans.

National Cemetery Burial

For a burial at a national cemetery a family should make sure that their funeral home contacts the National Cemetery Scheduling Office to make arrangements. Although the Department of Veterans Affairs will not cover the cost of funeral home services, they will provide -at no expense to the service member’s family:

  • gravesite at any of the nation’s cemeteries
  • opening and closing of the grave
  • care for the site
  • Government headstone or marker
  • burial flag
  • Presidential Memorial Certificate

Families are able to choose to have the cremated or casketed remains of their loved one buried or inurned at the national cemetery of their choosing if space is available at no additional expense to the family.

Private Cemetery Burial

For families who choose to have their veteran buried in a private ceremony, the VA still offers Burial and Memorial Benefits.  Benefits are more limited than those granted for a National Cemetery Burial, but include:

  • Government headstone or marker
  • burial flag
  • Presidential Memorial Certificate

Eligibility for Burial and Memorial Benefits differs for Officers and members of the Reserved Amred Forces, however for most members of the Armed Forces those killed in action or while on active duty, and those who served for at least 24 consecutive months are eligible.  For families who need assistance with funeral or cremation services, the VA may be after to help by offering Burial Allowances.

Photo thanks to Beverly & Pack under creative common license on Flickr.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jeff Hodes February 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I am working with a number of Green or Natural Cemeteries and a discussion point about vetern memorials provided by the VA came up. None of the existing memorials offered by the VA would be allowed in these cemeteries. We make it clear on the front end with the vet and all is good. What if one was ordered by mistake. How should we refuse it and / or return it?

Thanks jeff

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