Veterans burial benefits
My loved one was a veteran. What benefits are available for their burial?
There are federal burial benefits for Veterans that were discharged from active duty for conditions other than dishonorable. Families should be aware of the benefits available to them so that they can honor their loved one’s life of service.
Veterans are eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery at no cost. The burial includes:
- Opening and closing of the grave
- Headstone or grave marker
- Care and maintenance of the grave site
- In some instances, a burial flag and military funeral honors
Of the 131 national cemeteries, there are over 50 available for new casket and cremation interments. There are limited burial options depending on the selected cemetery. Families can contact the national cemetery directory to check on availability at a particular cemetery and then discuss their options and which would be best suited for their loved one. Each national cemetery is a little different than the next and this gives families a great opportunity to find the right fit.
The VA will deliver an inscribed headstone or grave marker for eligible veterans at any cemetery anywhere in the world.
- Headstones for VA national cemeteries are ordered by the cemetery directory based off of information given to the director by the family. For private cemeteries, families must check with the cemetery that government furnished headstones are accepted at the cemetery. Installation fees at private cemeteries are the responsibility of the family.
- Upright headstones are available in granite or marble and are consistent with existing headstones at the cemetery. The stones are inscribed with the name of the deceased, their branch of service and their year of birth and death. The headstone may also be inscribed with information such as military awards, military rank or personalized words of endearment as space allows.
- Flat grave markers can be selected in granite, marble or bronze. The markers are ordered by the cemetery director for VA national cemeteries. If choosing a marker for a private cemetery, check to make sure that government issued markers are accepted and note that all installation costs at a private cemetery are the responsibility of the family.
- The grave markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, their branch of service and their year of birth and death. They may also be inscribed with information such as military awards, military rank or personalized words of endearment as space allows. If choosing words of endearment, think about how your veteran lived their life outside of service, what they were passionate about.
Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker VA form 40-1330 http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330.pdf
Flags. The VA furnishes a United States burial flag to qualifying veterans. The family or next of kin can apply for the flag at a VA Regional Office or by visiting any US Post Office and completing VA form 27-2008.
Application for United States Flag Burial Purposes VA form 27-2008 http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-27-2008-ARE.pdf
The VA will pay or reimburse up to $2000 of a burial and funeral allowance for a veteran who dies from service-connected injuries. They will pay up to $734 when the veteran’s death occurs in a VA facility or VA contracted or state Veterans nursing home. Families should keep careful documentation of all expenses incurred to expedite the process of reimbursement.
A plot allowance of up to $734 will be paid by the VA when a qualifying veteran is buried in a cemetery that is not under US government jurisdiction. This benefit is ideal for veteran’s families that live out of country or that wish to have their veteran buried in their homeland.