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Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery

Servicemembers, Veterans, and family members may qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery and for other burial honors, like a headstone, marker, medallion, burial flag, and Presidential Memorial Certificate. Some family members may also qualify for money to pay for burial costs. Find out if you can get these benefits.

Who can be buried in a VA national cemetery and receive other burial benefits?

Veterans, Servicemembers, spouses, and dependents may qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery, as well as other benefits, if they meet one of the requirements listed below.

One of these must be true. The person qualifying for burial benefits is:

  • A Veteran who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, or
  • A Servicemember who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training, or
  • The spouse or dependent child of a Veteran, even if the Veteran died first, or
  • In some cases, the adult dependent child of a Veteran (if they aren’t married)

What should I do if I received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge?

If you’ve received one of these discharge statuses, you may not be eligible for VA benefits.

There are 2 ways you can try to qualify:

Find out how to apply for a discharge upgrade.
Learn about the VA Character of Discharge review process.

What do burial benefits include?

If you qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery, you’ll receive burial benefits at no cost to your family.

Burial benefits include:

  • Opening and closing of the grave
  • A burial liner provided by the government
  • A headstone or marker provided by the government
  • Perpetual (ongoing) care of the gravesite

At the time of need, the person planning the burial can also request other honors and memorial items.

Honors and memorial items may include a:

Learn about the burial planning process.
Learn about memorial items.

If I’m the survivor of a Veteran or Servicemember, what other benefits can I get?

We give the surviving spouse, children, and parents of Veterans and Servicemembers a range of benefits. These may include tax-free monetary benefits (called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation) and help paying for the funeral service (called a burial allowance).
See if you’re eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).
Find out how to apply for a burial allowance.

Can I plan ahead for my burial in a VA national cemetery?

Yes. You can plan ahead to make the process of applying for a burial in a VA national cemetery easier for your family members in their time of need. To do this, you’ll need to apply for a pre-need eligibility determination.
Find out how to apply.

Please note: The pre-need eligibility determination is only for national cemeteries. If you want to be buried in a state or tribal Veterans cemetery, check the site you want ahead of time, since some state Veterans cemeteries require that you live in that state or have other rules around eligibility.
Find a state Veterans cemetery.