It’s never easy to lose a loved one.

During this emotional time the need to make decisions and the demands for your time and your money can seem overwhelming. Advance preparations are always best. It’s unfortunate that the loss may come suddenly and with no warning. We’ll cover burial benefits on this page and try to make it a little easier for you.

Burial Benefits

Veteran & Dependent burial in VA National Cemeteries National Cemetery Administration (NCA) The National Cemetery Administration honors veterans with a final resting place and lasting memorials that commemorate their service to our Nation. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration maintains 125 national cemeteries in 39 states (and Puerto Rico) as well as 33 soldier’s lots and monument sites.

To visit the web page for the closest National Cemetery in your state just visit the website and select your state.

Burial benefits include a gravesite in any of our open 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 eligible spouses and dependents include burial with the veteran, perpetual care of the interment site. The spouse or dependent’s name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the veteran’s headstone at no cost to the family.

General Program Requirements

Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies while on active duty or any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable may be eligible for burial in a National Cemetery.

Certain National Guard and reserve members may also qualify. Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are considered to be active duty members and veterans, once discharged.

Length-of-service requirements apply in some cases. Spouses and certain eligible dependents may also be buried in national cemeteries. Pre-arrangement for burial at a National Cemetery is not allowed.

Partial Reimbursement of Expenses

VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of eligible veterans’ burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service-related, VA may be able to pay two modest allowances: One for burial and funeral expense, and One for the cemetery plot. When the cause of death is service-related, the reimbursement comes in the form of a single, larger payment for burial and funeral expenses. In some service-connected death cases, VA can pay a reimbursement for transportation costs.

Program Requirements

The veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. VA can pay a reimbursement only if the expenses for the funeral/burial have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source.

Generally, at least one of following additional eligibility criteria must also be met. Reimbursement is possible if the veteran:

  • Died because of a service-related disability,
  • OR Was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death,
  • OR Was entitled to receive VA compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retired pay,
  • OR Died in a VA hospital or while in a nursing home under VA contract, or while in an approved state nursing home,
  • OR Had a claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date of death,
  • OR Died while traveling, under proper authorization and at VA expense, to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care.

National Guard and Reserve members who were activated for federal military service and later separated are considered to be veterans. Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are considered to be active duty members and veterans, once discharged. For more facts about VA burial benefits, click here.