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Schedule a burial for a Veteran or family member

Find out how to make burial plans for a Veteran, spouse, or dependent family member.

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

If you have a pre-need decision letter that confirms eligibility

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 800-535-1117 to request a burial.

Keep in mind that the pre-need decision letter doesn’t identify a specific cemetery or gravesite, since it’s not possible to reserve these in advance. In some cases, we may review your eligibility again at your time of death, as laws and circumstances may have changed since your pre-need application.

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 schedule the burial.

  1. Gather the information and documents you’ll need to identify the deceased when you call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office

    You’ll need the DD214 or other discharge documents of the Veteran or service member whose military serviced will be used to determine eligibility for burial in a VA national cemetery. Their discharge from service needs to have been under conditions other than dishonorable.

    We may also need other documents to verify a relationship to a Veteran or the status of a dependent. These may include a death certificate, letters from your doctor, a divorce decree, a statement from the Social Security Administration, or other documents to support your claim.

    Find out which discharge documents we accept along with your application
    Find out how to request the Veteran’s DD214

    If you can’t find these documents, please ask for our help when you call. It may take us 48 hours or more to check eligibility if you don’t have discharge documents.

    Note: Discharge documents aren’t usually needed for scheduling when a Veteran or eligible dependent is already interred in a national cemetery.

    You’ll also need this information about the deceased:

    • Name
    • Gender
    • Social Security number or Military Service number (Veteran ID)
    • Date of birth
    • Relationship to the service member 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 this information about the next-of-kin (the closest living relative of the deceased):

    • Name
    • Relationship to the deceased
    • 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, service member, 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:

    • The cemetery where you’d prefer the Veteran, spouse, or dependent family member be buried
      Find a VA national cemetery
      Find a state Veterans cemetery
    • The type of burial you’d like for the person (casket or cremation) and the size of the casket or cremation urn
    • The type of gravesite memorial you’d like. This may be a headstone, grave marker, niche cover, or medallion.
    • Any religious emblem or optional inscription that you’d like on the headstone or marker 

    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 866-900-6417. Or scan and email the papers to NCA.Scheduling@va.gov with the person’s name you’re requesting burial benefits for in the subject line.

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

    The National Cemetery Scheduling Office is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET. The office is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Burials at national cemeteries take place Monday through Friday. When there’s a federal holiday on a Monday or Friday, cemeteries may schedule burials either on the actual holiday or on one of the days over the holiday weekend. The National Cemetery Scheduling Office can tell you the available burial times for each cemetery. 

Would I ever need to contact a national cemetery directly?

Yes, you should contact a national cemetery directly in these cases. To:

  • Schedule a burial for an active-duty service member
  • Cancel or reschedule a burial
  • Change any information you already provided to the scheduling office
  • Request a disinterment and/or relocation to another national cemetery
  • Get information that’s specific to a cemetery, like what can be inscribed on a headstone, the policy for flowers, and the hours of operation

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 866-787-0081. We’re here 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

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