How Do I Plan a Veteran’s Funeral?

veterans can choose how their funeral will be conducted

Veterans go out of their way to support this country and therefore should get a memorial service that highlights and honors their contributions. Veterans themselves have the power to choose how their service will be conducted. That includes where the burial takes place as well. Unlike the general public, veterans can be buried in one out of 135 VA National Cemeteries.

What you should know beforehand

Just because someone served in the military doesn’t make them an automatic candidate for a burial plot in a VA National Cemetery. More specifically, no VA benefits exist for someone who was dishonorably discharged – not the place of burial nor the VA financial assistance. In short, if you were dishonorably discharged, you get nothing.

The options available to you

A major part of planning a veteran’s funeral is where it will take place. You can either opt for a private cemetery or, you could choose a burial site in one of the 135 VA National Cemeteries. If you choose to be buried in a National Cemetery, you may not get in the one of your choice. However, your preference is taken into consideration.

A burial in a VA National Cemetery offers unique services. One is the opening and closing of the grave. It’s a common practice and it is required for underground burial as well as entombment for above ground. The veteran’s grave is always cared for from that moment forward. It will always be maintained and never deteriorate into an unkempt burial site.

The veteran may also get a free headstone marker. However, this could be an additional charge if the veteran is buried in a private cemetery.

Applying for burial in a VA National Cemetery

Assuming you meet the requirements of burial allowance, you can submit an application in which you provide the following:

  • Document showing your Social Security Number, birth date, and place of birth
  • Military discharge papers
  • Document showing military status, along with history of service

Once you have done this, you can submit and then wait until your spot in a VA National Cemetery is confirmed.

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