Pre-need eligibility for burial in a VA cemetery
You can apply to find out in advance if you can be buried in a VA national cemetery. This is called a pre-need determination of eligibility—and it can help make the burial planning process easier for your family members in their time of need. Follow the steps below to apply.
Please note: “Pre-need” means before the time of need. This application is for planning for your own burial in advance. Please don’t complete this form if you’re requesting burial at the time of need.
Find out how to schedule a burial
How do I prepare before starting my application?
Find out if you’re eligible. One of these must describe you:
- A Veteran who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge when you separated from the military, or
- The spouse or dependent child of a service member or Veteran, even if the service member or Veteran has already passed away, or
- In some cases, the adult dependent child of a service member or Veteran (if you aren’t married)
We base our decision of whether or not you qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery on your service history—or the service history of the Veteran or service member who’s sponsoring your application for burial as a spouse, surviving spouse, or unmarried adult child.
Get more details about eligibility
Note: If a service member dies on active duty, they’re eligible for burial without a pre-need decision letter.
Choose the VA national cemetery where you’d prefer to be buried.
This application is only for VA national cemeteries. If you’d like to be buried in a state or tribal Veterans cemetery, contact that specific cemetery ahead of time to find out about their pre-need program. Some state Veterans cemeteries require that you live in that state or have other rules around eligibility. You can apply for a pre-need determination of eligibility from VA and also from a state or tribal Veterans cemetery.
Find a state Veterans cemetery
This application doesn’t apply to Arlington National Cemetery or the United States Soldiers and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. If you’d like to be buried in either of these Department of the Army cemeteries, please call 877-907-8585. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET.
Getting a pre-need determination of eligibility doesn’t guarantee you’ll be buried in a specific VA national cemetery. We don’t take reservations at any VA national cemetery. However, we ask where you prefer to be buried so we can try to help fulfill your final wishes.
Gather the supporting documents and information you’ll need to fill out the application.
Please see the list below. If you don’t have everything on the list, you can still apply and we’ll help by finding the supporting documents we need. Just keep in mind that the more information you can give us when you apply, the faster we can review your application and give you a decision. We’ll contact you if we need you to provide additional information.
Be sure to fill out an application for each person requesting a pre-need eligibility determination.
If both you and your spouse are applying, you’ll each need to fill out your own application.
What information do I need to apply?
To apply, you’ll need your (or your sponsor’s):
- Social Security number
- Date and place of birth
- Military status and service history (like service dates, discharge character, and rank—commonly found on the DD214 or other separation documents)
- Discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents)
Note: If you don’t have discharge papers, find out how to request the DD214.
If you’re applying as a spouse, surviving spouse, or unmarried adult child, you’ll also need your personal information, including your Social Security number.
If you’re applying on behalf of someone else, you’ll also need supporting documents showing you have the authority to apply for that person. You’ll need to fill out one of these forms:
- Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Claimant’s Representative (VA Form 21-22)
Download VA Form 21-22 (PDF)
- Appointment of Individual as Claimant’s Representative (VA Form 21-22a)
Download VA Form 21-22a (PDF)
If you’re applying for an unmarried adult child of a Veteran or service member, you’ll also need to provide supporting documents with information about the child’s disability. The Veteran or guardian of the child should also ask the child’s current doctor to verify the documents. These documents should include all of the following information:
- The date of the disability's onset, and
- A description of the disability, mental or physical, and
- A description of how dependent the disabled child is on the Veteran, and
- The marital status of the child
How do I apply?
You can apply online right now.
You can also apply:
Fill out an Application for Pre-need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery (VA Form 40-10007).
Download VA Form 40-10007 (PDF)
The person applying for a pre-need determination must sign the form. If that person is under 18 years old, mentally unable to make decisions for themselves (sometimes called mentally incompetent), or physically unable to sign the form, a spouse, parent, or court-appointed representative may sign the form.
If you’re signing the form on behalf of someone else, you’ll need to:
- Select box 33B on the form and provide your name, address, phone number, and email address in blocks 34 through 37
- Provide supporting documents that show why the person applying can’t sign
- Provide supporting documents that show your relationship to the person applying
Send your completed application (with copies of your supporting documents) to:
National Cemetery Scheduling Office
PO Box 510543
St. Louis, MO 63151
Please don’t send us the originals of your DD214 and other supporting documents since we can’t return them. Send copies only.
You can fax your application to us at 855-840-8299.
What if I need help filling out my application?
Call our toll-free hotline at 800-535-1117. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET.
Note: These services are free. No one should ever ask you to pay them to help you fill out VA Form 40-10007 or file your request.
What happens after I apply?
Note: We’ve received a large number of pre-need eligibility applications, and it’s slowing down our approval process. We’ll let you know when we’ve received your application and how long we think it’ll take to make a decision. We’re sorry for the delay.
For more information, you can call 800-535-1117. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. Please wait to hear back about your application rather than applying again.