There are four burial benefits:
- Burial Allowance
- Presidential Memorial Certificate
VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran's burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death
is not service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: (1) a burial and funeral expense allowance,
and (2) a plot or interment allowance.
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.
In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
- 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
- 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.
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 U. S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a Veteran’s military service to his or her country. VA will
furnish a burial flag for memorialization for each other than dishonorable discharged.
- Veteran who served during wartime
- Veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
- Veteran who served after January 31, 1955
- peacetime Veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950
- certain persons who served in the organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while in service of the
U.S. Armed Forces and who died on or after April 25, 1951
- certain former members of the Selected Reserves
Who is eligible to receive the burial flag?
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. For those VA national cemeteries with an Avenue of
Flags, families of Veterans buried in these national cemeteries may donate the burial flags of their loved ones to be flown
on patriotic holidays.
How can you apply?
You may apply for the flag by completing VA Form 21-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. You may get a flag at any VA regional office or U.S. Post Office. Generally, the funeral director will help you obtain the
Can a burial flag be replaced?
The law allows the VA to issue one flag for a Veteran's funeral. We cannot replace it if it is lost, destroyed, or stolen.
However, some veterans' organizations or other community groups may be able to help you get another flag.
How should the burial flag be displayed?
The proper way to display the flag depends upon whether the casket is open or closed. VA Form 21-2008 provides the correct
method for displaying and folding the flag. The burial flag is not suitable for outside display because of its size and fabric.
It is made of cotton and can easily be damaged by weather.
Headstones and Markers
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker
for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.
For eligible veterans that died on or after Nov. 1, 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 (available by June 30, 2010) to be affixed
to the privately purchased headstone.
Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. Bronze niche markers
are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains. The style chosen must be permitted by the officials
in charge of the private cemetery where it will be placed.
When burial or memorialization is in a national cemetery, state veterans' cemetery, or military post/base cemetery, a headstone
or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin or authorized
Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a Government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a national
cemetery, state veteran's cemetery, or military post/base cemetery.
Note: There is no charge for the headstone or marker itself, however arrangements for placing it in a private cemetery are
the applicant's responsibility and all setting fees are at private expense.
Presidential Memorial Certificates
A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the
memory of honorably discharged deceased Veterans.This program was initiated in March 1962 by President John F. Kennedy and has been continued by all subsequent Presidents.
Statutory authority for the program is Section 112, Title 38, of the United States Code.
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.
Who is eligible to receive a certificate?
Eligible recipients include the next of kin and loved ones of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. More than one certificate
may be provided.