Once again I have witnessed the death of a veteran and the family has no idea as to burial
benefits are how to aquire those benefits. Below is the information necessary for burial in a VA cementery and the benefits
you have earned. Make sure your spouse and family have this knowledge. It is to late when you are dead.
Schedule a Burial
To schedule a
burial in all Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemeteries except Puerto Rico, please contact the National Cemetery
Scheduling Office by following the instructions listed below:
It is important
to fax all eligibility documentation to the Scheduling Office prior to calling. Burial in a national cemetery is based on
military service. A copy of an official military
discharge document bearing
an official seal or other supporting documentation is usually sufficient to determine eligibility for burial. The document
must show release from service was under conditions other than dishonorable. Discharge documentation is not usually needed
for scheduling when a Veteran or eligible dependent is already interred in a national cemetery.
If you have no
eligibility documentation ...
agents will assist you with the verification process. Requests for eligibility determination when no military discharge documents
are available may require 48 hours or more for verification. Scheduling Office personnel will contact you within 48 hours
of the initial process with verification results or an explanation of the delay.
In order to assist
you, please have the following information readily available:
- Cemetery of choice
- First or subsequent burial (Veteran or dependent already buried)
- If subsequent interment, who is already interred, section and site number (if known)
- Decedent’s full name, gender, SSN, date of death, date of birth and relationship (Veteran or dependent)
- Contact Info (funeral director’s name as well as the name, address, and E-mail address of the funeral
- Next of kin information (name, relationship to deceased, SSN, phone number, address)
- Type of religious emblem for headstone (if known)
- Did the decedent reside within 75 miles of requested cemetery?
- ZIP code of decedent at time of death
- County of decedent at time of death
- Type of burial (casket or cremation)
- Marital status of deceased (if Veteran is buried in a private cemetery, must provide documentation of marital
status of spouse at time of death)
- Casket size/liner size/urn size/urn vault size
- Is surviving spouse a Veteran?
- Any disabled children for future interment (must provide name and date of birth). If requesting immediate
interment (must provide marital status, doctor’s statement stating type of illness, date of onset of illness and capability
- Military Honors requested
The National Cemetery
Scheduling Office provides interment scheduling service 7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Central Time. The Scheduling
Office is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. As a service to all Veterans and their families,
a national cemetery will never go more than two days without offering interment times and we will be able to advise you which
days are open for interments when there is a three-day federal holiday.
When do I contact
the National Cemetery directly?
There are instances
when you should contact a national
for scheduling support. They are:
- To request burial in Puerto Rico
- Active duty interment scheduling
- Interment cancellation or rescheduling
- Change to information initially provided to Scheduling Office
- Request for disinterment and/or relocation to another national cemetery
- Information pertaining to headstones, floral policy, hours of operation or other items unique to that cemetery.
Requests for burial in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national
cemetery cannot be made via the Internet.
The VA does not make funeral arrangements or perform cremations.
Families should make these arrangements with a funeral provider or cremation office. Any item or service obtained from a funeral
home or cremation office will be at the families expense.
For Burial in a National Cemetery
Burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of our 131 national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual
care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible
for Burial Allowances .
Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in
a national cemetery include burial with the Veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and
death will be inscribed on the Veteran's headstone, at no cost to the family. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried,
even if they predecease the Veteran.
Preparing in Advance
Gravesites in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries
cannot be reserved in advance.
You should advise your family of your wishes and where your discharge papers* are kept. These papers are very important in establishing your
eligibility. You may wish to make pre-need arrangements with a funeral home.
At the time of need your family would contact a funeral home who
will assist them with making burial arrangements at the national cemetery.
To schedule a burial: Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
Donating Burial Flags in National
Most of the Department of Veterans Affairs national cemeteries
display an Avenue of Flags on patriotic holidays and during special events. The Avenues consist of burial flags donated by
the families of deceased Veterans and provide a unique visible tribute to all of our Nation's Veterans.
A Certificate of Appreciation is presented to the donor for providing
their loved ones' burial flag to a national cemetery.
Please contact the cemetery of your choice for information on how to donate a veteran's burial
For Burial in a Private Cemetery
Burial benefits available for Veterans buried in a private cemetery
include a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible
for Burial Allowances .
There are not any benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery.
Potential Questions to Ask Regarding
Burial in a Private Cemetery
VA-NCA-IS-1 Interments in VA National
Cemeteries — provides information on the National Cemetery Administration's
history, arranging a burial in a national cemetery, military honors, burial eligibility and locations of national and state