VA offers an application form specific to the medallion. The form is labeled 40-1330M and can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330M.pdf.
The medallion is furnished in lieu of a traditional government headstone or grave marker to those Veterans whose death occurred on or after Nov. 1, 1990, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker. The medallion is available in three sizes: Large (6-3/8"W x 4-3/4"H x 1/2"D), Medium (3-3/4"W x 2-7/8"H x 1/4"D) and Small (2"W x 1-1/2"H x 1/3"D). Each medallion is inscribed with the word "VETERAN" across the top and the branch of service at the bottom. Once a claim for a medallion is received and approved, VA will mail the medallion along with a kit that will allow the family or the staff of a private cemetery to affix the device to a headstone, grave marker, mausoleum or columbarium niche cover.
Unlike today, early U.S. military practice did not include awards and medals. The Civil War changed this. Americans fighting on both sides led government officials to recognize this bravery. President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill creating 200 “medals of honor” in late 1861. From this came the Medal of Honor, today the highest commendation for military service. The medal design, eligibility for it, and recognition on a recipients’ grave marker have all evolved since the Civil War. Today, 373 Medal of Honor recipients are interred in VA cemeteries. Learn more about these honored dead and the commemoration.
On October 1, 2014, the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published, in the Federal Register, a proposed rule to amend the existing definition of eligible applicants by expanding the types of individuals who may request headstones or markers on behalf of decedents. The amendment addresses concerns that the existing applicant definition is too restrictive and results in identified Veteran gravesites going unmarked.
Because VA shares the public’s desire to appropriately recognize the service of our Veterans, VA worked on these revisions to the definition to allow more individuals to apply for headstones or markers, including memorial headstones or markers. VA is seeking input from Veterans, family members and other stakeholders regarding a proposed change to its definition of who may apply for a headstone or marker. Those wishing to review and comment on the proposed changes are encouraged to do so by searching for “National Cemetery Administration” or “2900-AO95” at www.regulations.gov. Comments must be received on or before December 1, 2014.
NCA created a webpage to enable funeral directors to quickly find the most pertinent information to help families plan burials and apply for VA memorial benefits. It provides information about eligibility, benefits and services, VA forms, and features four videos on casket and cremain services offered with and without military funeral honors. The videos are narrated in English and Spanish and show what a family can expect on the day of their loved-one's funeral at a VA national cemetery.
There are also quick links to download VA forms for ordering headstones and markers, the bronze medallion, the Presidential Memorial Certificate, and other benefits.