Burial and Memorial Benefits
Regular Army: Active Duty
Benefit Fact Sheet
Soldiers who die while on active duty, Veterans discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and members of Reserve Components may be eligible for the following Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits: (1) burial in a VA national cemetery; (2) government-furnished headstone or marker; (3) Presidential Memorial Certificate; (4) burial flag; and in some cases, (5) Some Veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. The Service members' surviving Spouse, dependent Children, biological and adoptive parents and under certain conditions, unmarried adult Children, may be eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
Burial in a Veterans Affairs Cemetery and associated benefits are generally available to any Soldier who dies while on active duty. The eligible Soldier's surviving Spouse (Widow or Widower), dependent Children, under certain conditions, unmarried adult Children, and biological or adoptive parents of a Service member may be eligible for burial. For specific eligibility requirements please go to the National Cemetery Eligibility page.
Burial in Arlington National Cemetery is available to Soldiers who die on Active Duty (except those on active duty for training only), and certain other Veterans who meet specific eligibility criteria. For more information on eligibility for Arlington National Cemetery click here.
Burial in VA National Cemeteries: VA provides Veterans and Family members a variety of gravesite options for burial, though choices are limited to those available at a specific cemetery. These options may include in-ground casket burial, or internment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in-ground, or in a scatter garden.
Gravesites in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries cannot be reserved in advance. You should advise your Family of your wishes and where your discharge papers are kept. These papers are very important in establishing your eligibility.
At the time of need your Family would contact a funeral home who will assist them with making burial arrangements at the national cemetery. You may wish to make pre-need arrangements with a funeral home. To schedule a burial: Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
Government Furnished Headstones or Markers: Upon request, the VA furnishes (at no charge to the applicant) a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death. Flat markers (granite, marble, or bronze) and upright headstones (granite or marble) are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains. For eligible Veterans that died on or after 1 Nov 1990 and whose grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone, VA may also furnish a headstone or marker to supplement the graves or a Medallion to be affixed to a privately purchased headstone. Presidential Memorial Certificates (PMC): The Presidential Memorial Certificate is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the PMC program by preparing the certificates which bear the current President's signature expressing the country's grateful recognition of the Veteran's service in the United States Armed Forces. Eligible recipients include the next of kin and loved ones of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. More than one certificate may be provided.
Eligible recipients, or someone acting on their behalf, may apply for a PMC in person at any VA regional office or by U.S. mail or toll-free fax. Requests cannot be sent via email. Please be sure to enclose a copy of the Veteran's discharge and death certificate to verify eligibility, as we cannot process any request without proof of honorable military service. Please submit copies only, as we will not return original documents.
Instructions for Ordering a PMC Using Our Toll Free Fax Line: This service is available for PMC requests for all Veterans that are buried in a Private Cemetery, State Veterans Cemetery, and in a VA national cemetery.
Burial Flags: A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased Veteran who served honorably in the Army. The flag is furnished to honor the memory of a Veteran's military service to the United States of America. Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin as a keepsake after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it. Families of Veterans buried in national cemeteries with an avenue of flags may donate the burial flags of their loved ones to be flown on patriotic holidays. You may apply for the flag by completing VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes.
VA Burial Allowances: Effective July 7, 2014, VA changed its monetary burial benefits regulations to simplify the program and pay eligible Survivors more quickly and efficiently. These regulations will authorize VA to pay, without a written application, most eligible surviving Spouses basic monetary burial benefits at the maximum amount authorized in law through automated systems rather than reimbursing them for actual costs incurred.
The new burial regulations will permit VA to pay, at a flat rate, burial and plot or interment allowances thereby enabling VA to automate payment of burial benefits to most eligible surviving Spouses and more efficiently process other burial benefit claims. The burial allowance for a non-service-connected death is $300, and $2,000 for a death connected to military service.
You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:
- You paid for a Veteran's burial or funeral, AND
- You have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased Veteran's employer, AND
- The Veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, AND
- The Veteran died because of a service-related disability, OR
- The Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
- The Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay, OR
- The Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
- The Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR
- The Veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date or death, OR
- The Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
What the VA will pay:
Service-Related Death: If the Veteran died on or after September 1, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $2,000. If the Veteran died before September 11, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $1,500. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA may reimburse some or all of the costs of transporting the deceased Veteran's remains.
- If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $747 for a plot.
- If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, but before October 1, 2015, VA will pay $300 for burial allowance and $745 for a plot.
- If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2013, but before October 1, 2014, VA will pay $300 burial allowance and $734 for a plot.
Effective October 1, 2011, there are higher non-service-connected death rates payable if the Veteran was hospitalized by VA at the time of his or her death.
- If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, VA will pay a $747 burial allowance and $747 for a plot.
- If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2014, but before October 1, 2015, VA will pay a $745 burial allowance and $745 for a plot.
- If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2013, but Before October 1, 2014, VA will pay a $734 burial allowance and $734 for a plot.
If the death occurred while the Veteran was properly hospitalized by VA, or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the Veteran's remains may be reimbursed.
Note: If the Veteran dies while traveling at VA expense for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, VA will pay burial and plot allowances and transportation expenses.
For information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, visit the How to Apply page.
For more information, please visit the Burial and Memorial Benefits webpage maintained by VA:
Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs:
Department of Veterans Affairs Survivor and Eligible Dependents Webpage:
Arlington National Cemetery:
Document Review Date: 29 April 2016