Veterans Burial Advice and Information
The purpose of this webpage, other website links, and the downloadable forms below is to help you with benefits as they relate to your veterans burial or cremation final wishes.
Thank you for your service to our country. We pay special attention to our fellow veterans and their families. Veterans Burial benefits are important to use; we have made the same decisions as you regarding life insurance, Medicare, final affairs, veterans burial benefits, and social security planning.
You will likely note that benefits are, almost exclusively, for “inside the gate”. That term has been used so that veterans know that the VA does not pay for your funeral, but does honor your service, and offer a final resting place without cost, funeral honors, and marker.
(Regarding the National Guard or Reserves – thank you for your service. If you have 181 days active service other than for training, then you are eligible for benefits we discuss below. If have 20 years of service or receive retirement pay, then you are eligible for a headstone or marker.)
Your entitlement to a space in a national or state military cemetery will be of particular interest. We recommend that you think about a traditional plot versus cremation burial and that you get pre-qualified so that,
- Your family will not be faced with the paperwork.
- There are no delays about eligibility when you pass.
The paperwork is not too complicated, but after submittal, expect a wait of about two months to receive back notice from the National Cemetery Administration. Below you will find downloadable VA Form 40-10007, and it can also be filled out online at the VA website. You will need a copy of your DD-214 or other discharge documents.
The website for all information is https://www.cem.va.gov/ . As you might expect, there is a lot of information that is not covered here. You can find 60 pages in this downloadable document –https://www.cem.va.gov/docs/factsheets/Planning_Legacy_Booklet.pdf .
Some benefits are only for retired veterans receiving a pension or other VA benefits. However, all veterans with discharges that are not less than honorable are entitled-
- VA provides for a final resting place for eligible Veterans, spouses, and their eligible dependents, as well as a headstone or marker, a flag to drape the casket, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate.
- 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. U.S. Post Offices are the primary issuing point for burial fags. Each family of a decedent is entitled to one flag. Below you can download application form VA Form 27-2008.
- VA can provide a single headstone, columbarium niche cover, or a fat marker for a Veteran’s final resting place (private, state, or national cemeteries). Below you can download application VA Form 40-1330 “Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker”. The form and information sheet also has some photos of choices.
- VA can provide a medallion for use on a headstone or other memorial in a private cemetery to signify a decedent’s status as a veteran. Multiple sizes are available. Below you can download application VA Form 40-1330M.
- VA can provide a Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) to the deceased veteran’s family. A PMC is an engraved paper certificate signed by the current President. I have enclosed the application form VA40-0247.
If you receive VA health benefits, VA pension, or die in a VA facility, your family may be entitled to financial burial benefits. I have enclosed form VA Form 21P-530 “Notice of Evidence Necessary to Substantiate a Claim for Burial Benefits”. You can also apply online HERE. Currently, the maximum amount is $796.
You are also eligible for Military Funeral Honors at your funeral. You can download the brochure below. The contacts to arrange honors vary by state, so I also recommend downloading the Military Funeral Honors Directory. Your wishes for Military Funeral Honors should be in writing and kept with your final wishes documents.
Finally, we recommend downloading, completing, and storing with your final wishes documents now a “Before You Call Form” designed to be given to your funeral director. We have not discussed burial at Arlington National Cemetery which is has different requirements and administration, but we are happy to speak with you on this subject.
In summary, we highly recommend that you complete the Pre-Need Eligibility VA Form 40-10007 and record your final wishes now. After you receive your notice of eligibility in the mail, if you have a spouse, you can complete the same form for them, but it is easier if you wait for notice of your determination before submitting for your spouse.