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.
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.
You may want to ask the following questions when preparing for burial in a private cemetery:
- When responding to an offer of a "free" gravesite for Veterans, ask if there is a requirement to purchase an additional gravesite.
- If an additional gravesite is required, where will it be located and what is the cost?
- What type of trust fund does the cemetery have to protect buyers?
- Ask if there are restrictions on the type of headstone or marker that can be used to mark the grave.
- Does the cemetery require a special marker base to be purchased prior to ordering a free government marker for a Veteran's grave?
- Is there an additional cost for the placement, setting or care of a free government headstone or marker? Is it more than if a private headstone or marker is purchased?
- Is an outside container (usually called a "vault" or "grave liner") required and how much does it cost?
- Know what you are receiving and what is required by the company and have them put it in writing prior to burial.
We suggest that if burial will be in a private cemetery and a Government headstone or marker or medallion will be requested for the Veteran’s grave, that the family complete, in advance, one of the following forms and place it with the Veteran’s military discharge papers for use at the time of need:
- Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker
- Claim for Government Medallion for Placement in a Private Cemetery
Only an eligible Veteran may receive a Government-furnished headstone or marker or medallion for placement in a private cemetery. Veteran’s spouses and dependent children are not eligible.