VA Burial Benefits

The burial benefits available for eligible veterans include burial allowance, plot or internment allowance, headstones or markers, U.S. flag and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Eligibility for these benefits is subject to certain conditions as follows:

Burial Allowance - The deceased veteran must, at the time of death, have been in receipt of Department of Veterans Affairs pension-compensation, or would have been entitled to receive compensation but for the receipt of military retired pay; or death occurred in a VA facility or contract nursing home to which the deceased was properly admitted.

The amount of burial allowance is affected by the service-connected status of death. If a veteran dies of a service-connected disability, an amount not to exceed $1,500 may be paid toward his funeral and burial expenses.

If the veteran's death was not the result of service-connected disability, an amount not to exceed $300 may be paid toward the veteran's funeral and burial expenses.

Plot Allowance - Payable if the deceased veteran was in receipt of compensation or pension at time of death, or would have been entitled to receive compensation or pension but for the receipt of military retired pay; the veteran was discharged from service because of disability incurred in line of duty; or the veteran was institutionalized by the VA at the time of death. A $150 plot allowance is payable for any veteran who is eligible for a burial allowance.

Note: as of Nov. 1, 1990, the plot allowance is no longer payable based solely on wartime service. To be eligible, one must meet the conditions outlined.

Flags - An American flag will be furnished to drape the casket of a deceased veteran. The veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and must have been either a wartime veteran or one who served after Jan. 31, 1955, or a veteran who served at least one enlistment during peacetime unless discharged or released sooner for disability incurred in line of duty.

The VA may also issue a flag for a veteran who is missing in action and presumed dead. Congress has extended grave marker and flag eligibility to reservists and National Guardsmen who have completed 20 years of service.

Headstones and Markers - The government will furnish, free of cost, a headstone or marker for any deceased veteran of wartime or peacetime service who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and is buried in a private cemetery.

Members of the Reserve and the Army and Air National Guard who die as a result of performing active duty for training may also be eligible.

The VA may also furnish a headstone or marker for the purpose of commemorating any veteran whose remains have not been recovered or identified; were buried at sea; were donated to science; or were cremated and the ashes scattered.

These markers will be for placement in a national cemetery area reserved for such purposes, or in a state, local or private cemetery. There is no time limit for the filing of a claim for this benefit.

Presidential Memorial Certificates - The Presidential Memorial Certificate is issued to the next of kin of war or peacetime deceased veterans who were discharged honorably or members of the armed forces at the time of death.