FREE Burial in a National Cemetery
Burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of the VA's 135 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.
Veteran's family members, you should make funeral or cremation arrangements with your local, exclusive Veterans & Family Memorial Care funeral home provider. Any item or service obtained from a funeral home will be at the family's expense.
ENSURE THAT MY WISHES ARE FULFILLED
Yes, I would like to take advantage of my Free Burial Benefit at the nearest VA National Cemetery. I acknowledge that the VA DOES NOT PAY for funeral or cremation costs which are required before the Free Burial can take place. I agree to have a Veterans Burial & Cremation Expert from my nearest VFMC funeral home provider contact me in order to ensure that my wishes are fulfilled.
The submission of this online form is not a condition of purchase in any way. By submitting this form you understand, and agree, that you may be contacted by your nearest CBCS Funeral Home by email, mail or telephone regarding Remembrance Planning.
Local Veterans Burial Experts
Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemeteries
Veterans discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and service members who die while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, as well as spouses and dependent children of Veterans and active duty service members, may be eligible for VA burial and memorial benefits. The Veteran does not have to die before a spouse or dependent child for them to be eligible.
With certain exceptions, active duty service beginning after Sept. 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and after Oct. 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 consecutive months or the full period of active duty (as in the case of reservists or National Guard members called to active duty for a limited duration). Active duty for training, by itself, while serving in the reserves or National Guard, is not sufficient to confer eligibility. Reservists and National Guard members, as well as their spouses and dependent children, are eligible if they were entitled to retired pay at the time of death, or would have been upon reaching requisite age. See Chapter 8 for more information.
VA’s National Cemetery Scheduling Office or local national cemetery directors verify eligibility for burial. A copy of the Veteran’s discharge document that specifies the period(s) of active duty and character of discharge is usually sufficient to determine eligibility. In some instances, a copy of the deceased’s death certificate and proof of relationship to the Veteran (for eligible family members) may be required.
Under Section 2411 of Title 38 of the United States Code, certain otherwise eligible individuals found to have committed federal or state capital crimes are barred from burial or memorialization in a VA national cemetery, and from receipt of government-furnished headstones, markers, burial flags, and Presidential Memorial Certificates.
Veterans and other claimants for VA burial benefits have the right to appeal decisions made by VA regarding eligibility for national cemetery burial or other memorial benefits.
Questions about the full range of VA burial and memorial benefits may be directed to the nearest national cemetery, located by calling 1-800-827-1000, or visiting www.cem.va.gov.
Burial in VA National Cemeteries
Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible Veterans, their spouses and dependents at no cost to the family and includes the gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine. For Veterans, benefits also include a burial flag and military funeral honors. Family members and other loved ones of deceased Veterans may request Presidential Memorial Certificates.
VA operates 131 national cemeteries, of which 71 are open for new casketed interments and 19 are open to accept only cremated remains. Burial options are limited to those available at a specific cemetery but may include in-ground casket, or interment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in ground or in a scatter garden. Contact the national cemetery directly, or visit www.cem.va.gov to determine if a particular cemetery is open for new burials, and which other options are available.
The funeral director or the next of kin makes interment arrangements by contacting the National Cemetery Scheduling Office or national cemetery in which burial is desired. VA normally does not conduct burials on weekends. Gravesites cannot be reserved; however, VA will honor reservations made under previous programs.