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VA Cemetery

Burial in National Cemeteries
VA Cemeteries

Burial benefits in a VA national cemetery include the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbaria for the inurnment of cremated remains or special gravesites for the burial of cremated remains. Headstones and markers and their placement are provided at the government's expense.

Veterans and armed forces members who die on active duty are eligible for burial in one of VA's 114 national cemeteries. An eligible veteran must have been discharged or separated from active duty under honorable or general conditions and have completed the required period of service. Persons entitled to retired pay as a result of 20 years creditable service with a reserve component are eligible. A U.S. citizen who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in a war also may be eligible.

Spouses and minor children of eligible veterans and of armed forces members also may be buried in a national cemetery. A surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who married a non-veteran, and whose remarriage was terminated by death or divorce, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery.

Gravesites in national cemeteries cannot be reserved. Funeral directors or others making burial arrangements must apply at the time of death. Reservations made under previous programs are honored. The National Cemetery System normally does not conduct burials on weekends. A weekend caller, however, will be directed to on of three strategically located VA cemetery offices that remain open during weekends to schedule burials at the cemetery of the caller's choice during the following week.

Headstones and Markers

VA provides headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of veterans anywhere in the world and for eligible dependents of veterans buried in national, state veteran or military cemeteries.

Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble, upright granite and upright marble types are available to mark the grave in a style consistent with the place of burial. Niche markers also are available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.

Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, the years of birth and death, and branch of service. Optional items that also may be inscribed at VA expense are: military grade, rank or rate; war service such as World War II; months and days of birth and death; an emblem reflecting one's beliefs; valor awards; and the Purple Heart. Additional items may be inscribed at private expense.

When burial is in a national, state veteran or military cemetery, the headstone or marker is ordered through the cemetery, which will place it on the grave. Information regarding style, inscription, shipping and placement can be obtained from the cemetery.

When burial occurs in a cemetery other than a national cemetery or a state veterans cemetery, the headstone or marker must be applied for from VA. It is shipped at government expense to the consignee designated on the application. VA, however, does not pay the cost of placing the headstone or marker on the grave.

  • To apply, you must complete VA form 40-1330. Be sure to include telephone numbers and signatures. Use the information on the DD-214 and other supporting documents to help you fill out the application as completely as possible. Forms and assistance are available at VA regional offices.
     
  • To apply, mail your application to the Quantico, Virginia, mailing address. You may use either the US Postal Service, or one of the mail delivery services commercially available. The address is:

        Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
         Department of Veterans Affairs
         5109 Russell Road
         Quantico, VA 22134-3903

  • For information regarding the status of an application, you may call the Director, Office of Memorial Programs (403B3) at 1-800-697-6947.

VA cannot issue a headstone or marker for a spouse or child buried in a private cemetery. Twenty year reservists without active duty service are eligible for a headstone or marker, if they are entitled to military retired pay at the time of death.

Social Security Benefits: For Burial in a Private Cemetery

The following checklist is designed to help you file for your Social Security benefits correctly so that prompt payments may be made.

  • Eligibility
    The deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security, ranging from 1 1/2 to 10 years depending on his or her age at death. Who may receive monthly benefits
    • A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled), or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled
    • A divorced widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) if the marriage lasted 10 years, or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled
    • Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full-time)
    • Children who were disabled before reaching 22, as long as they remained disabled
    • Dependent parent or parents 62 or older
  • Lump-Sum Death Payment
    A one time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above. The lump-sum death payment (LSDP) is paid in the following priority order:
    • A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death.
    • A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death
    • A child or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death
  • Applying for Benefits
    You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office or, if you wish, you may apply by telephone. Just dial the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 and the operator will schedule an appointment for you or arrange for the local Social Security office to take your claim by telephone.
    • You may call Social Security toll-free, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The number to use is 1-800-772-1213. To speak with a representative, call between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm on regular business days. At other times and on weekends and holidays, you may leave a message and they will call you back, in most cases, the next business day.
    • You may use the toll-free number to make an appointment either in a Social Security office or telephone to apply for benefits, transact other Social Security business, or just ask questions.

We will be happy offer assistance or answer initial questions.
Call us at (270) 384-2149.

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