FAQs - National Cemetery Administration
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National Cemetery Administration



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 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.

I do not have my military discharge, how can I get a copy?

You can contact the National Archives* to obtain a copy of your discharge papers.

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. Learn more.

What is a Presidential Memorial Certificate?

A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased Veterans.

How can I order a headstone, marker or medallion for placement in a private cemetery?

Complete the appropriate VA Form available here.

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.

How can I find out the status of a headstone order?

To obtain the status of headstones or markers ordered for national or state cemeteries, please contact the cemetery directly.

Private Cemetery: If more than 60 days have passed since submitting your claim and the grave is still not marked, you should contact the cemetery, funeral home, or other party responsible for accepting delivery of the headstone, marker or medallion to see if they have received it. If they have not received it, you may call our Applicant Assistance Unit between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday, at 1-800-697-6947.

What do I do if the headstone inscription is incorrect?

Contact your national cemetery administration office for assistance. If the Veteran is buried in a private cemetery, contact our Applicant Assistance Office at 1-800-697-6947.

What is the proper way to clean a government headstone or marker?

View our fact sheet: Cleaning Headstones and Markers

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.


* External Link Disclaimer: Links marked with an asterisk ( * ) are external links. By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website.