Burial in a VA National Cemetery

VA burial benefits available for spouses and dependents include burial with the veteran in a national cemetery, perpetual care and the spouse or dependents name, date of birth and date of death being inscribed on the veteran's headstone, at no cost to the family. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried in a VA national cemetery even if they predecease the veteran. There aren’t any benefits available for spouses and dependents that are buried in a private cemetery. Contact the VA at 800-827-1000 for the latest information concerning this benefit.

VA Burial Allowance

VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran’s burial and funeral costs. You may be eligible for burial allowance if: 

  1.  You paid for a veteran's burial or funeral AND,
  2.  You have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the veteran's employer AND;
  3.  The veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

Other conditions may need to be met. Contact the VA at 800- 827-1000 for more information.

Reimbursement of Burial Expenses for Service-Connected Deaths

For veteran deaths after September 11, 2001, the person who paid for the funeral is eligible to receive a $2,000 burial allowance from the VA to help offset funeral costs incurred. For veteran deaths before September 11, 2001, a $1,500 burial allowance is paid. Costs for transporting the deceased may be reimbursed if the burial takes place in a VA National Cemetery.

Reimbursement of Burial Expenses for Non-Service-Connected Deaths

For non-service-connected deaths on or after October 1, 2001, the VA will pay up to $700 towards burial and funeral expenses (if hospitalized by the VA at the time of death), or $300 towards the burial or funeral expenses (if NOT hospitalized by the VA at the time of death), and a $700 plot interment allowance (if not buried in a national cemetery). For deaths on or after December 1, 2001, but before October 1, 2011, VA will pay up to $300 towards burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance. For deaths prior to December 1, 2001, the plot-interment allowance is $150. 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.

NOTE: The above pay information is current as of December 26, 2013.  Contact the VA at 800-827-1000 for current burial expense pay information.


How to Apply

To apply for reimbursement of burial expenses, complete a VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits, and mail it to the nearest VA Regional Office. For the Dallas/Fort Worth area, mail the form to Department of Veteran Affairs, 701 Clay Ave, Waco, TX, 76799. You will also need to submit a copy of the veteran's death certificate, the veteran's DD Form 214 or equivalent military discharge document, a copy of the funeral and burial bills showing that you have paid them in full, and transportation costs bills if claiming reimbursements for transportation. For non-service-connected deaths, claims for burial allowance reimbursement should be made within two years from the date of the veteran's permanent burial or cremation. There is no time limit to file a claim for service-connected deaths.

Burial Flags

A United States 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. VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization for each other than dishonorable discharged veteran that served during a wartime period, that died on active duty after May 27, 1941, who served after January 31, 1955, was a peacetime veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950, certain persons who served in the organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while in service of the U.S. Armed Forces and who died on or after April 25, 1951, and certain former members of the Selected Reserves.

Who Is Eligible to Receive the Burial Flag?

Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making a request for it.

How Can You Apply for the Burial Flag?

You may apply for the flag by completing a VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. You may get a flag at any VA regional office or U.S. Post Office. Generally, the funeral director will help you obtain the flag. Contact the VA at 800-827-1000 for more information.

Headstones, Markers & Medallions

The VA furnishes, upon request and at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the un-marked grave of survivors or dependents of any deceased, eligible veteran in any VA national cemetery, state veteran's cemetery, or military post/base cemetery. Memorial headstones and markers for spouses and other dependents are not available for placement in private cemeteries. Contact the VA at 1-800-827-1000 for more information.

Who Can Apply for a Headstone, Marker or Medallion?

Only the decedent's next-of-kin known as NOK, authorized representative on behalf of the decedent, or an authorized representative on behalf of next-of-kin. If someone other than the NOK is applying for the headstone, marker or medallion, the application package must include a written statement signed by the NOK or decedent authorizing that person to apply for this benefit. A notarized statement is not required for these purposes.

How to Apply for a Headstone, Marker or Medallion?

When burial is in a private cemetery, a VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker, or a VA Form 40-1330M, Claim for Government Medallion, must be submitted along with the veteran's DD Form 214 or equivalent military discharge document. Both of these forms can be obtained from the Internet by using Google. Do not send original documents as they will not be returned. When the burial or memorialization is in a national, military post/base, or state veterans cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next-of-kin. The VA Form 40-1330 and DD Form 214/military discharge can be faxed to 800-455-7143. If you use fax, do not mail the document also. The VA Form 40-1330 can be mailed to: Memorial Programs Services (41A1), Department of Veteran Affairs, 5109 Russell Road, Quantico, VA 22134-3903. You can go to www.cem.va.gov/cem/hmm/types.asp to see what type of headstones, markers and medallions are available.

This page was last modified on July 07, 2015


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