Cremation Benefits for United States Veterans

As a service to US Veterans, the Internet Cremation Society has compiled information relating to Veterans Administration benefits available for reimbursement of cremation expenses. In addition, we have included options for memorialization of cremated remains in VA National Cemeteries. For more specific information about cremation benefits and options for final disposition, please contact your state's Internet Cremation Society participant or visit one of the VA links provided on this site. Please note that interment options described relate only to cremation. Contact the Veteran's Administration for death benefits related to full body burial. 

VA Benefits for Reimbursement of Cremation Expenses

A. $300 is available for honorably discharged veterans if one of the following conditions are met:

  • Veteran was receiving a pension or disability benefits from the VA at the time of death.
  • Death occurred in a VA hospital.
  • Death occurred in a VA nursing home or VA contracted health care facility.

B. $2,000 is available if one of the following conditions are met:

  • Veterans died during active duty.
  • Honorably discharged veteran died of a service-connected injury.

C. $300 Burial Plot Allowance is available when an honorably discharged veteran is not interred in a cemetery that is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government if one of the following conditions are met:

  • Veteran was receiving a pension or disability benefits from the VA at the time of death.
  • Death occurred in a VA hospital.
  • Death occurred in a VA nursing home or VA contracted health care facility.

D. Transportation Allowance for deceased veterans will be reimbursed by the VA for:

  • Transportation expenses from the place of death to the cremation facility if the death occurred in a VA hospital or military hospital for retired and active duty personnel.
  • Transportation expenses from the crematory to a National cemetery for veterans that either: Died from a service connected injury, were receiving a VA pension or disability benefits, or died in a VA or military hospital.

Interment In a National Cemetery
Many families of deceased veterans take advantage of interment benefits available through the Veterans Administration National Cemetery System. FREE gravespace for interment of cremated remains is available in any one of a number of VA National cemeteries located throughout the country.

Eligibility Requirements
All honorably discharged veterans, their spouses and minor children who have been cremated are eligible for interment in a national cemetery. In addition, certain members of the Reserve Component of the Armed Forces, World War II Merchant Marines and Commissioned Officers of NOAA and the Public Health Service may also eligible. For a complete listing of eligibility requirements contact your local veterans affairs office or visit the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery System Web Site.

Interment Options
There is no charge for interment of cremated remains in a National Cemetery. Cremated remains may be interred in either an in-ground grave, a garden niche, or placed in a columbarium depending upon the family's preference. Please note that not all National cemeteries provide for each of these three interment options. A complete listing of VA National Cemeteries and telephone numbers can be found at http://www.va.gov/cemetery/address.htm.

Scheduling an Interment
Most cremation societies will arrange for an interment in a National Cemetery as part of their service. Normally, all that is required to make these arrangements is a copy of the official military discharge document or a Form DD 214. The cremation society will forward the required documentation to the cemetery director and a tentative date for interment will be set. Cremated remains may not be delivered to the cemetery until interment eligibility is verified and the arrangements are confirmed.

Once these arrangements are confirmed, the cremated remains may either be hand delivered to the cemetery by the family or cremation society or shipped directly to the cemetery office via US. Postal Service.

Please note that memorialization in a National Cemetery is available only on an at-need basis at the time of death. Eligible veterans may not reserve burial or niche space in a National Cemetery on a pre-need basis. 

Military Honors
Section 578 on the National Defense Act provides free military honors for eligible veterans whose families request them. The law includes a basic military funeral honor ceremony consisting of the folding and presentation of the American flag and the playing of Taps. The military detail performing this ceremony will consist of two or more uniformed members of the military, with at least one member representing the branch in which the veteran served. Each military branch may also include additional elements of the ceremony such as a rifle volley. In most cases, the cremation society that you select will handle the details of scheduling the military ceremony if they assisted the family is setting up and coordinating the memorial service. For more information about military honors, you may visit the Department of Defense web site at www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil.

Headstones, Markers and Monuments
If burial of the cremated remains takes place in a National Cemetery, the VA will provide a free granite or marble headstone or a granite, marble, or bronze marker. If burial takes place in a private cemetery, the VA will provide a free headstone consistent with the cemetery requirements. For veterans who's cremated remains have been scattered, a memorial monument is available. Most cremation societies will take care of arranging for installation of a headstone, marker or memorial monument at no charge.

Special Programs Offered by Some Cremation Societies
As a tribute to Veterans, many cremation societies discount their fee for those that served in the military. In fact, many societies that will handle the complete cremation service for the cash benefit available from the VA when the death occurs in a VA hospital or VA contracted health care facility. Please check with your state's cremation society participant on this site to see if this program is offered in your area.

 

 

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