National Cemetery Administration
Facts: Women and Minority Veterans
Burial in a VA national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces and Veterans who have met minimum active duty service requirements, as applicable. If you served in a branch of the military and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable you may be eligible for burial in a Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery at no cost to you or your family.
No-cost burial benefits include:
• A gravesite in any of VA's open national cemeteries.
• Opening and closing of the grave.
• Perpetual care of the gravesite.
• Headstone, marker, or medallion.
• A burial flag.
• Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC).
Women Veterans married to a Veteran are entitled to their own separate no-cost burial benefit. In addition, members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty under certain circumstances are also eligible for burial as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death. A Veteran's spouse, widow or widower, minor children, and, under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities, may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran.
In 2015, the Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state. Accordingly, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may now recognize all same-sex marriages without regard to a Veteran's state of residence.
Pre-Need Eligibility Determination
VA provides determinations of eligibility for burial in a national cemetery prior to the time of need to assist Veterans and their families with end-of-life planning. Interested individuals may submit VA Form 40-10007, Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery, along with a copy of supporting documentation of military service such as a DD214 by: fax to 855-840-8299 or mail to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, P.O. Box 510543, St. Louis, MO 63151. For more information on benefits and eligibility visit www.cem.va.gov or apply online now.