This article is general information for the families of recently deceased veterans of any age, service or means. These are benefits that the veteran, (and his/her family) has earned as a result of their honorable service to America. Reputable funeral homes usually have this information, but families should be aware of these benefits in any case. Use the following information to ensure all benefits you are entitled to are received. One may also contact the local American Legion Post for help navigating the VA website. One way to start the process for burial at a national cemetery is now, before the passing of your loved one. Go to cem.va.gov/pre-need to fill out a “pre-need” application. This saves time and confusion later on.
The honorably discharged veteran is entitled to a burial, at no cost to the family, at one of any of 135 national cemeteries, with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. In addition to this benefit, if the veteran is buried in a national cemetery, the spouse and dependents are also eligible to be buried at no cost, with their names inscribed on the headstone as well. They may be buried even if they pre-decease the veteran. When a death and burial occur in two different states, these benefits may be “lost” between state lines, so the family should follow up to ensure they receive the entitlements the veteran has earned. In addition, the dependents and/or survivors of the deceased may be eligible for burial and plot interment allowance.