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Plan a Burial for a Veteran, Spouse, or Dependent Family Member

Find out what steps to take to plan a burial for a Veteran, spouse, or dependent family member.

How do I plan a burial for a Veteran or other family member?

If you have a pre-need decision letter confirming that the Veteran, spouse, or dependent family member can be buried in a VA national cemetery:

To start, you may want to choose a funeral director to help you plan the burial. Then either you or the funeral director can call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117 to request a burial.

You don’t need to do anything else except prepare yourself and your family for the funeral.
Find out what to expect at a military funeral or memorial service.

If you don’t have a pre-need decision letter:

To start, you may want to choose a funeral director to help you plan the burial. Then either you or the funeral director will need to take these 3 steps to apply for a burial.

  1. Gather the information and documents you’ll need to identify the Veteran, spouse, or dependent family member

    You’ll need:

    You’ll also need the information listed below about the Veteran, Servicemember, or dependent family member:

    • Name
    • Gender
    • Social Security number or Military Service number (Veteran ID)
    • Date of birth
    • Relationship to the Servicemember or Veteran whose military service will be used to decide eligibility
    • Marital status
    • Date of death (and zip code and county at the time of death)

    You’ll need information about the next-of-kin (the closest living relative of the Veteran, Servicemember, or dependent family member), including the person’s:

    • Name
    • Relationship to the Veteran, Servicemember, or dependent family member
    • Social Security number
    • Phone number
    • Address

    You may also need more information in certain cases:

    • If the person was married, you’ll also need the surviving spouse’s status as Veteran, Servicemember, or family member.
    • If the person has any children with disabilities, you’ll need the status and detailed information for any disabled children who may be buried in the future in a national cemetery.
    • If the person’s spouse passed away previously and was buried in a VA national cemetery, you’ll need the full name of the spouse as well as the cemetery section and site number where they’re buried.
  2. Decide on the burial details and gather all related information

    You’ll need to tell us:

    If the person is a Veteran or Reservist, you’ll also need to tell us if you’d like burial honors or memorial items, such as:

    Request gravesite memorials and burial honors.
    Learn more about military funeral honors.

  3. Contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office

    The funeral director you’ve chosen can help you with these steps too:

    • For burial in a national cemetery, fax any discharge papers to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417. Or scan and email the papers to NCA.Scheduling@va.gov with the peron’s name you’re requesting burial benefits for in the subject line.

    • Then call 1-800-535-1117 to confirm the burial application. Be sure to have all the information handy that’s listed above in the “Prepare” section.

Can I get information about the Burial at Sea program?

If you have questions about the Burial at Sea program, please contact the United States Navy Mortuary Affairs office toll-free at 1-866-787-0081, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (ET).
Get more information about the Burial at Sea program.

Can I get help paying for burial costs?

If you’re the spouse of record (the legally recognized spouse) or a designated (legally chosen) family member of a Veteran, you may be able to get financial help for burial and funeral costs.
Find out how to apply for a Veterans burial allowance.