The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) National Cemetery Administration maintains 135 national cemeteries in 40 states (and Puerto Rico) as well as 33 soldier's lots and monument sites.
Many states have established state veterans cemeteries. Eligibility is similar to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries, but may include residency requirements. Even though they may have been established or improved with Government funds through VA's Veterans Cemetery Grants Program, state veterans cemeteries are run solely by the states. We cannot answer your questions or comments about any of these veterans cemeteries. Please contact the specific cemetery for information.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does the VA pay for cremation or burial expenses?
The VA does not pay for cremation directly. Any item or service obtained from a funeral home will be at the families' expense. Some Veterans' families may be entitled to a burial allowance, which may cover some of these expenses.
What are my burial benefits?
Burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of our 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.
What can I do now to prepare for burial in a national cemetery?
You should advise your family of your wishes and where your discharge papers are kept. These papers are very important in establishing your eligibility. Upon request, VA will make eligibility determinations for burial in a VA national cemetery in advance of need. At the time of need your family would contact a funeral home who will assist them with making burial arrangements at the national cemetery. You may wish to make pre-need arrangements with a funeral home. To schedule a burial: Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
Am I eligible for a burial flag and how do I get one?
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.
Is my mother, who is not a Veteran, entitled to a Government marker in a private cemetery?
Spouses and dependents are not entitled to a Government-furnished headstone or marker in a private cemetery.
Can I be buried at Arlington National Cemetery?
The Department of the Army maintains two national cemeteries, the Arlington National Cemetery* and the U.S. Soldiers' & Airmen's Home National Cemetery. Please contact them directly for their eligibility information.
Can VA provide burial at sea?
The VA does not provide burial at sea. If you have any questions about the Burial at Sea program, please contact the United States Navy Mortuary Affairs office toll-free at 1-866-787-0081. Or contact the Department of the Navy for information.