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National Cemetery Administration

Burial Benefits

For Burial in a National Cemetery
Burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of our 131 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.

The Veterans family should make funeral or cremation arrangements with a funeral provider or cremation office. Any item or service obtained from a funeral home or cremation office will be at the family's expense.

Preparing in Advance
Gravesites in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries cannot be reserved in advance.

You should advise your family of your wishes and where your discharge papers* are kept. These papers are very important in establishing your eligibility. 

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.

Donating Burial Flags in National Cemeteries
Most of the Department of Veterans Affairs national cemeteries display an Avenue of Flags on patriotic holidays and during special events. The Avenues consist of burial flags donated by the families of deceased Veterans and provide a unique visible tribute to all of our Nation's Veterans.

A Certificate of Appreciation is presented to the donor for providing their loved ones' burial flag to a national cemetery.

Please contact the cemetery of your choice for information on how to donate a Veteran's burial flag.

For Burial in a Private Cemetery
Burial benefits available for Veterans buried in a private cemetery may include a Government headstone, marker or medallion, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. There are not any VA benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery.

Potential Questions to Ask Regarding Burial in a Private Cemetery

VA-NCA-IS-1 Interments in VA National Cemeteries — provides information on the National Cemetery Administration's history, arranging a burial in a national cemetery, military honors, burial eligibility and locations of national and state Veterans cemeteries. Spanish version

*Note: Link will take you outside the VA web site.