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Program Description

The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) National Cemetery Administration honors Veterans with a final resting place and lasting memorials that pay tribute to their service to our nation.

The NCA maintains 134 national cemeteries in 40 states and Puerto Rico. We also maintain 33 soldier’s lots and monument sites. Please note that not every state has a VA national cemetery.

Burial benefits include, at no cost to the family:

  • A gravesite in any of our open cemeteries with available space.
  • Opening and closing of the grave.
  • Perpetual care.
  • A government headstone or marker.
  • A burial flag.
  • A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC).

Some Veterans may also qualify for VA Burial Allowances.

National cemeteries can also bury and inurn created remains in in the same manner and with the same honors as casket remains.

Burial benefits for eligible spouses and dependents include, at no cost to the family:

  • Burial with the Veteran.
  • Perpetual care of the interment site.
  • The spouse’s or dependent's name and the date of birth and death inscribed on the Veteran's headstone.

We can also bury eligible spouses and dependents even if they die before the Veteran.

General Program Requirements

Deceased Veterans discharged under honorable conditions and any member of the U.S. Armed Forces who died on active duty may be eligible for burial in a national cemetery.

Veterans whose only active duty service was for training while in the National Guard or Reserves are not eligible, unless there are special circumstances, like death while on duty or as a result of training.

National Guard and Reserves who are entitled to retired pay qualify. You must send a copy of the Reserve Retirement Eligibility Benefits Letter with the application. National Guard or Reserves who served in active duty (other than for training) also qualify. They do not need to be eligible for retiree pay.

Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) qualify as active duty members and Veterans once discharged.

Any Veteran discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces under conditions other than dishonorable is eligible for a government-furnished headstone or marker.

Service must have been one of the following:

  • They served as an enlisted person after Sept. 7, 1980, or as an officer after Oct. 16, 1981, for a minimum of 24 consecutive months, or
  • They completed their service under special circumstances, like death on active.

To get VA benefits and services, the Veteran or Servicemember's discharge or service must be other than dishonorable.

Some may qualify for benefits, pending a review by VA, who have other than an honorable discharge.

You can visit the Eligibility page for more details.

Application Process

To learn more, visit the National Cemetery Administration Burial Benefits page.

For a list of national cemeteries by state, see the Department of Veterans Affairs Cemetery Listing.

You can’t make requests for burial in a VA national cemetery online. Funeral homes assisting families can contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office to arrange for burial or inurnment and a committal service.

To schedule a burial, fax the Veteran’s discharge papers to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.

Direct contact with a Veteran's family is usually not necessary until the family arrives at the cemetery for the committal service.

Last Updated: 11/07/2018