Preparing for the passing of a loved one, or even yourself, can be a difficult and confusing time. VA can help you and your survivors prepare for the future. Here’s how VA’s burial and memorial benefits can honor your legacy.
Burial and memorial benefits
No one wants to leave their family with large burial and funeral expenses. VA’s compassionate and professional memorial and burial services can help ease families through loss and save them thousands of dollars. If you are a Veteran, service member, spouse or dependent, you may be eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery and other benefits. These benefits include:
- Access to more than 140 national cemeteries, 95 of which are open to interments of caskets or cremated remains. Specific burial options are limited to those available at a cemetery and will vary based on availability.
- A United States flag, provided at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a Veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- A single headstone, columbarium niche cover or a flat marker for a Veteran’s final resting place, whether in a private, state or national cemetery.
- A medallion for use on a headstone, or other memorial in a private cemetery, to indicate a deceased person’s Veteran status. Multiple sizes are available, and VA delivers the headstone or marker anywhere in the world at no cost.
- A Presidential Memorial Certificate – an engraved certificate signed by the current president that honors the memory of honorably discharged Veterans – for families of deceased Veterans.
VA also provides burial benefits to partially offset the cost of burial expenses, plot costs and transportation costs for a Veteran’s remains. These benefits are paid at different rates based on whether the Veteran’s death was service-connected or non-service connected. More information on burial benefits compensation is available at VA.gov. VA will pay the first living person to file a claim as listed below:
- The Veteran’s surviving spouse, or
- The survivor of a legal union between the deceased Veteran and the survivor, or
- The Veteran’s children, regardless of age, or
- The Veteran’s parents or the surviving parent, or
- The executor or administrator of the deceased Veteran’s estate, or the person acting for the deceased Veteran’s estate.
How to apply for benefits
When applying for burial and memorial benefits, there are basic forms that must be completed, including:
The VA Survivors and Burial Benefits Kit provides instructions on how to apply for each benefit and includes copies of the VA forms needed, so you can familiarize yourself with them now. Current versions of these forms (and more) are available on VA.gov. The Survivors and Burial Benefits Kit also includes tips on how to fill out applications with examples of completed forms.
Visit VA.gov to learn more about VA’s burial benefits. Information on survivor and burial benefits is available online and in the Summary of VA Dependents’ and Survivors’ Benefits pamphlet. Other information regarding VA burial benefits such as flags, headstones and markers is provided by VA’s National Cemetery Administration.