Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies while on active duty or any Veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, as well as their eligible spouse, and their dependent children may be eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
Persons with 20 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves who are entitled to retired pay are eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery. Active duty service (other than active duty for training) while in the National Guard or Reserves also establishes burial eligibility and does not require receipt or entitlement to retiree pay.
Veterans whose only active duty service was for training while in the National Guard or Reserves are not eligible unless there are special circumstances (e.g., death while on duty or as a result of training).
Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are considered to be active duty members and Veterans, once discharged and are eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery.
Any deceased Veteran discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces under conditions other than dishonorable is eligible for a government-furnished headstone or marker. Service after Sept. 7, 1980, as an enlisted person or after Oct. 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 consecutive months or be completed under special circumstances (e.g., death on active duty or discharge resulting from injury).
Generally, in order to receive VA benefits and services the Veteran/Servicemember's character of discharge or service must be under other than dishonorable conditions (e.g., honorable, under honorable conditions, general). However, individuals receiving undesirable, bad conduct, dishonorable and other discharges may qualify for VA benefits depending on a determination made by VA.
Requests for burial in a VA national cemetery cannot be made via the Internet.
For more information on the application process, visit the Burial Benefits, Schedule a Burial, or Pre-Need Eligibility pages.
For a list of national cemeteries by state, visit Find a Cemettery.
Funeral homes that are assisting families during their time of need can contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office to make arrangements for burial and/or inurnment and a committal service. To schedule a burial, fax the discharge papers to 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117. Direct contact with VA by the Veteran's family during the difficult days surrounding a loved one's death is usually not necessary until the family arrives at the cemetery for the committal service.