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 will pay the first living person to file a claim as listed below:

  1. The Veteran’s surviving spouse, or
  2. The survivor of a legal union between the deceased Veteran and the survivor, or
  3. The Veteran’s children, regardless of age, or
  4. The Veteran’s parents or the surviving parent, or
  5. 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 The Survivors and Burial Benefits Kit also includes tips on how to fill out applications with examples of completed forms.

More resources

Visit 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.

By Angela Childers-Conner is a public affairs specialist with VBA’s Office of Strategic Engagement.

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Published on Sep. 13, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.9 min.

Views to date: 2,599


  1. Rose Marie Bienkowski October 11, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    My spouse died 4/17/15, not 4/15/15.

  2. Rose Marie Bienkowski October 11, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Why is there a limit of two years after a veteran is cremated for burial benefits. My family didn’t believe me that my husband was eligible for burial benefits.
    Every time we spoke about it ended in tears and devisiveness.
    Then two years ago I went online to find out more. I was shocked to learn about the two year limit. I was angry with my daughter and told her it was her responsibility now.

    Still my husband’s ashes have not been buried. He died 4/15/2015. No one is talking about it any longer.

    I believe we were all traumatized by his suicide. He was bipolar and off his meds. He stabbed himself to death and bled out.

    Has the VA’s condition changed and why not?

  3. Roberto October 8, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Have we ever thought of combining all the benefits all in one form to help the veteran and family members . A check box for each benefits can be on one paper with a check mark on what they would like help with. This will help with cost of paper, ink, and save trees for the air we breath.
    Everything does not need to be hard for family members when something like this has to be done.

  4. Harry October 7, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    I’m a retired Viet Nam veteran with 100% service connected disability and now live in Canada..Am I still eligible for burial benefits..

  5. James Springer October 7, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Ms. Childers-Conner, thank you for the above information. All too often, families are scrambling or don’t know where to turn to for help with the VA when their Veteran dies. While most never want to consider death, it is enviable and best for those that remain when the Veteran or family plans for that future outcome.

  6. Donna Brown October 7, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Since you can’t afford to die, don’t save any money and maybe you’ll live longer!

  7. Paul October 7, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    For assistance with burial and memorial benefits don’t mess around with all the burdensome VA forms. Just simply call the VA National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117. They are open Monday – Sunday 0700 – 1800 CST. I am working with them now for my father’s benefits. Unlike many other VA 1-800 numbers, they are actually very helpful and extremely courteous. I highly recommend calling first thing in the morning as that’s the quickest way to get a hold of someone.

  8. Michael DeMeo October 7, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    I am 100% service connected and a Vietnam Vet. My wife and I both want to be cremated when we pass. Will my cremation and all it entails be covered by my benefits?
    Also, my wife has been and will remain as my caretaker. She is not a vet but would her cremation costs be covered as well?
    Thank you.

  9. Kevin Keough October 7, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Flying body to there burial site.

  10. Garay Miguel A. October 7, 2021 at 11:45 am

    I’m interested in all my benefits.

  11. Thomas R Denels October 7, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Can I get financial help with cremation of myself or my wife?

  12. Gerald t Oliver September 23, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    I can not afford to die yet.

  13. Bill Doherty September 23, 2021 at 5:46 am


Comments are closed.

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