Veterans Benefits

What Are VA Burial Allowances?

VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran’s burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: (1) a burial and funeral expense allowance and (2) a plot or interment allowance. You can apply for burial benefits by completing a VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits. You will need proof of the veteran’s military service (DD 214 or discharge/separation papers), a death certificate and copies of funeral and burial bills you have paid. For further information, please contact the nearest VA regional office at 1.800.827.1000.

How Much Does VA Pay?

VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the veteran’s death is service-related. If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance for non service-related deaths. If the death happened while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the veteran’s remains may be reimbursed.

A U.S. flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin or a close associate as a keepsake after its use during the funeral service. Flags are issued at any VA regional office or U.S. Post Office. Our funeral directors will be pleased to help you obtain a flag for your loved one.

Burial in VA National Cemeteries

Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces and veterans who have met minimum active service duty requirements and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Their spouse, widow or widower, minor children and, under certain conditions, unmarried adult children may also be eligible for burial.

Gravesites in VA national cemeteries cannot be reserved in advance. Funeral directors or others making burial arrangements must apply at the time of death. National cemeteries do not usually conduct burials on weekends or federal holidays. However, weekend callers may schedule burials for the upcoming week.

The VA furnishes a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world and for eligible dependents of veterans buried in national, state veteran or military cemeteries. Spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery are not eligible for a government-furnished headstone or marker.

Flat bronze, granite or marble markers, and upright granite and marble headstones are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for interment of cremated remains.

Headstones and markers must be inscribed with the legal name of the deceased, branch of service and the year of birth and death, in this order. Memorial markers must also include “In Memory Of” at the top. If space is available, the inscription may also contain any or all of the following: veteran’s rank, war service, military decorations, awards and month and day of birth and death. All of these items must be inscribed in English. If desired, headstones and markers may also include an approved emblem of belief.

Cemetery officials will order the headstone or marker, if the veteran is buried or memorialized in a national, state veteran or military cemetery.

When burial is in a private cemetery, VA Form 40-1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker, must be completed and submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s military discharge documents. Do not send original documents, as they will not be returned.

Government-furnished headstones and markers are shipped free of charge. Cemetery staff in all national and military cemeteries will set the headstone or marker free of charge. However, some state veterans’ cemeteries and most private cemeteries charge a fee for setting a government headstone or marker. This is a non-reimbursable expense.

Presidential Memorial Certificates

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A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is a gold embossed paper certificate inscribed with the veteran’s name that bears the President’s signature. It honors the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans.Eligible recipients include the deceased veteran’s next of kin and loved ones.A copy of the deceased veteran’s military discharge document along with a copy of the death certificate must be provided when requesting a PMC. Eligible recipients, or someone acting on their behalf, may request a PMC in person at any VA Regional Office by U.S. mail or toll-free fax. For more information about Presidential Memorial Certificates, visit the VA website.

“Your kindness and compassion have been a resting place for my many concerns. It’s truly a comfort to have our needs looked after by a Christian family that understands our loss. Thank you for your help and prayers.”

Phyllis M.
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