This is a summary of the benefits available. We will be glad to help in getting these benefits to honor your loved one's service to our country.
For Burial in a National Cemetery
Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the Veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the Veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the Veteran.
For Burial in a Private Cemetery
Burial benefits available for Veterans buried in a private cemetery include a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. There are not any benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery.
The National Cemetery Scheduling Office has the primary responsibility for verifying eligibility for burial in VA national cemeteries. A determination of eligibility is usually made in response to a request for burial in a VA national cemetery. To schedule a burial, fax all discharge documentation to 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
a. Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard)
(1) Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active duty.
(2) Any Veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. With certain exceptions, service beginning after September 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and service after October 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 continuous months or the full period for which the person was called to active duty (as in the case of a Reservist called to active duty for a limited duration). Undesirable, bad conduct, and any other type of discharge other than honorable may or may not qualify the individual for Veterans benefits.
(3) Any citizen of the United States who, during any war in which the United States has or may be engaged, served in the Armed Forces of any Government allied with the United States during that war, whose last active service was terminated honorably by death or otherwise, and who was a citizen of the United States at the time of entry into such service and at the time of death.
b. Members of Reserve Components and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps
(1) Reservists and National Guard members who, at time of death, were entitled to retired pay under Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code.
(2) Members of reserve components, and members of the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard, who die while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the expense of the United States for injury or disease contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while performing active duty for training or inactive duty training, or undergoing such hospitalization or treatment.
(3) Members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps of the Army, Navy, or Air Force who die under honorable conditions while attending an authorized training camp or on an authorized cruise, while performing authorized travel to or from that camp or cruise, or while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the expense of the United States for injury or disease contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while engaged in one of those activities.
(4) Members of reserve components who, during a period of active duty for training, were disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty or, during a period of inactive duty training, were disabled or died from an injury or certain cardiovascular disorders incurred or aggravated in line of duty.
c. Commissioned Officers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(1) A Commissioned Officer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (formerly titled the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Environmental Science Services Administration) with full-time duty on or after July 29, 1945.
(2) A Commissioned Officer who served before July 29, 1945; and,
(a) Was assigned to an area of immediate military hazard as determined by the Secretary of Defense while in time of war, or in a Presidentially declared national emergency; or,
(b) Served in the Philippine Islands on December 7, 1941, and continuously in such islands thereafter.
d. Public Health Service
(1) A Commissioned Officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service who served on full-time duty on or after July 29, 1945. If the service of the particular Public Health Service Officer falls within the meaning of active duty for training, as defined in section 101(22), title 38, United States Code, he or she must have been disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
(2) A Commissioned Officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service who performed full-time duty prior to July 29, 1945:
(a) In time of war;
(b) On detail for duty with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard; or,
(c) While the Service was part of the military forces of the United States pursuant to Executive Order of the President.
(3) A Commissioned Officer serving on inactive duty training as defined in section 101(23), title 38, United States Code, whose death resulted from an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
e. World War II Merchant Mariners
(1) May be eligible.
f. The Philippine Armed Forces
(1) Any Philippine Veteran who was a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States at the time of their death; and resided in the United States at the time of their death. May be eligible.
g. Spouses and Dependents
(1) The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible Veteran is eligible for interment in a national cemetery even if that Veteran is not buried or memorialized in a national cemetery. In addition, the spouse or surviving spouse of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States whose remains are unavailable for burial is also eligible for burial.
(2) The surviving spouse of an eligible Veteran who had a subsequent remarriage to a non-Veteran and whose death occurred on or after January 1, 2000, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery, based on his or her marriage to the eligible Veteran.
(3) The minor children of an eligible Veteran under certain conditions.
(1) Biological or adoptive parents, who died after October 13, 2010, and whose biological or adoptive child was a service member and whose death occurred on or after October 7, 2001 may be eligible.
Persons Not Eligible for Burial in a National Cemetery
a. Former Spouses
A former spouse of an eligible individual whose marriage to that individual has been terminated by annulment or divorce, if not otherwise eligible.
b. Other Family Members
Family members of an eligible person except those defined as eligible in Section III, paragraph g.
c. Disqualifying Characters of Discharge
A person whose only separation from the Armed Forces was under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a bar to Veterans benefits.
d. Discharge from Draft
A person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service.
e. Persons Found Guilty of a Capital Crime
Under 38 U.S.C. § 2411, interment or memorialization in a VA national cemetery or in Arlington National Cemetery is prohibited if a person is convicted of a Federal or State capital crime.
f. Subversive Activities
Any person convicted of subversive activities after September 1, 1959.
g. Active or Inactive Duty for Training
A person whose only service is active duty for training or inactive duty training in the National Guard or Reserve Component, unless the individual meets the eligibility criteria listed in Section III.1.b. of this information sheet.