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Burial Benefits, Military Funeral Honors

Federal VA Burial Benefits

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration (NCA) honors veterans with final resting places in national shrines and with lasting tributes that commemorate their service to our nation. The purpose of the NCA is to:

  • provide burial space for veterans and their eligible family members.
  • maintain national cemeteries as national shrines, sacred to the honor and memory of those interred or memorialized there.
  • mark veterans’ graves with a Government-furnished headstone or marker and to provide Presidential Memorial Certificates in recognition of their service to a grateful nation.
  • administer grants for establishing or expanding state veterans cemeteries.

The VA’s NCA maintains 136 national cemeteries in 40 states (and Puerto Rico) as well as 33 soldier’s lots and monument sites.

For a listing by state of VA national cemeteries, soldier’s lots and monument sites visit the National Cemetery Administration’s website.

In addition, the Department of the Army maintains two national cemeteries – the Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Home National Cemetery and the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service maintains 14 national cemeteries.

Burial benefits available include a grave site in any of 128 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, all at no cost to the family. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.

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.

Burial benefits available for veterans buried in a private cemetery include a 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 no benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery.

For more information on federal burial benefits, visit the VA National Cemetery Administration’s website.

Headstones & Markers

The VA will furnish 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, the VA may also provide a headstone or marker for graves that are already marked with a private headstone or marker. When the grave is already marked, applicants will have the option to submit a claim for either a traditional headstone or marker, or a new medallion.

Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze, and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for internment of cremated remains.

For information on eligibility, how to order a headstone or marker, types of headstones & markers available, and how to check the status of headstone or marker request visit the Headstones, Markers and Medallions page of the National Cemetery Administration’s website.

Burial Flags

A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or to accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the US Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a veteran’s military service to his or her country. The VA will furnish a burial flag for memorializing each, other than dishonorably discharged, veteran who

  • served during wartime
  • died on active duty after May 27, 1941
  • served after January 31, 1955
  • 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

For eligibility requirements and information on how to apply, visit the Burial Flags page of the National Cemetery Administration’s website.

Presidential Memorial Certificates

A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of  an honorably discharged deceased veteran.  The 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.

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. For more information or an application for a certificate, visit the  Presidential Memorial Certificate page of the National Cemetery Administration’s website.

Burial Allowances

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides burial allowances, or 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.

For complete information on eligibility, how much the VA may pay, and how to apply, call 1-800-827-1000.

To learn more, visit the VA Burial and Plot-Interment Allowances fact sheet .

Burial at Sea

The National Cemetery Administration cannot provide burial at sea.

If you have any questions about the Burial at Sea program, please contact the United States Navy Mortuary Affairs office toll-free at 1-866-787-0081 or contact the visit the Department of the Navy Burial At Sea information page.

Source: U.S. VA National Cemetery Administration

Nationwide Gravesite Locator

The Nationwide Gravesite Locator allows users to search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in US VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker.

Military Funeral Honors

The MDNG Honor Guard offers Military Funeral Honors to veterans who served in the Armed Forces of the United States and were separated with a discharge other than Dishonorable. The MDNGHG operates out of 4 locations throughout the state providing professional and dignified services to departed Maryland veterans.

For more information on the MDNG Honor Guard visit the Maryland Military Department website.

To speak with someone contact the Maryland National Guard Honor Guard at 410-576-6133

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