Valuable VA Resources for Veterans and Families
Useful Links and Other Resources
National Veteran Support has compiled the following resources for your convenience. If we can be of assistance in directing you to the proper channels for your particular situation, please use the form on our Contact Page to let us know how we can help. If you find any incorrect information on this page, or see that something is missing that might be helpful to veterans and their familes, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Greater Los Angeles
Wilshire Federal Building
11000 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
1722 I St NW
Washington, DC 20421
California Department of Veterans Affairs
1227 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(800) 221-8998 (Outside California)
P.O. Box 942895
Sacramento, CA 94295
(800) 324-5966 (TDD)
VA Cemetery and Burial Benefits
The VA’s National Cemetery Administration maintains 131 national cemeteries in 39 states (and Puerto Rico) as well as 33 Soldier’s lots and monument sites. There are nine national cemeteries in California, of which five (Riverside National Cemetery, Sacramento Valley VA national Cemetery, San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Miramar National Cemetery and Bakersfield National Cemetery) are presently accepting new interments. The other national cemeteries in California are only accepting burials of family members of persons already interred, although Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (near San Diego) still offers burial of cremated remains.
Eligibility for Burial
Persons eligible for burial in a national cemetery include –
- Service members who die on active duty
- Certain Reservists and National Guard members
- World War II Merchant Mariners
- U.S. citizens who served honorably in the Armed Forces of an Allied government during a war
- Such other persons or classes of persons as may be designated by either the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or the Secretary of the Air Force.
Additionally, the spouse and the children (as defined) of eligible persons are also eligible for burial in a national cemetery. In some cases, parents of active duty military killed in action may also be eligible.
Burial benefits may include the following: gravesite for casket or cremation remains, headstones or markers, opening and closing of the graves, and continued perpetual care. Burial of eligible veterans and dependents is at no cost when interred at a national cemetery.
Associated funeral expenses are the responsibility of the veteran and/or family. For assistance in completing applications for cemetery and burial benefits, please contact the your local County Veterans Service Office.
Military Funeral Honors Program
Military funeral honors are available in your state for honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Below, you will find additional information about eligibility and availability of the services offered.
What Types of Funeral Honors Are Available?
At minimum, two service representatives will render honors, sound taps, fold the flag and present it to the next of kin. Additionally, a detail to fire volleys, a chaplain, and/or a detail to serve as pall-bearers may be provided depending on the desires of the surviving family and resources available. Frequently, funeral honors are rendered in concert with a local Veteran Service Organization (VSO).
Note: The VSOs that may perform one or more of the above functions might include the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Marine Corps League, etc.
Who Should I Contact?
Family members of the deceased veteran should first notify their funeral director of their desire to have military funeral honors rendered at the service. The family should provide the funeral director with as much of the following as possible:
- Name of Deceased
- Date of Birth
- Social Security Number
- DD 214/Separation document (discharge papers)
- Other proof of Veteran Status or Eligibility for Burial Honors
Who Is Eligible?
Veterans are eligible for military funeral honors if they meet one of the following requirements:
- Discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable
- Completed at least one term of obligated service in the Selected Reserved under conditions other than dishonorable
- Enlisted on active duty at the time of death or in the Selected Reserve (drilling with a unit)
- Discharged from the Selected Reserve due to disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
Burial and Plot-Interment Allowances
VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran’s burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is non-service-related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments: (1) burial and funeral expense allowance, and (2) plot or interment allowance.
How Does the Veterans Administration Pay?
The dollar amount of reimbursement and which expenses may be eligible for reimbursement depend on several factors, including whether or not the veterans death was service related.
The VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001. If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the costs of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.
The VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance for deaths on or after December 1, 2001. As of October 2011, the burial and funeral expenses and the plot allowance increase to $722. If the death happened while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the veteran’s remains may be reimbursed. No plot allowance is paid to the family when the burial occurs in a national or state veterans cemetery.
How to Apply
To apply for burial benefits, complete VA form 21-530, Application for Burial Benefits. Attach a copy of the veteran’s military discharge document (DD Form 214 or equivalent), death certificate, and funeral and burial bills. The bills should indicate they have been paid in full. The form can be downloaded at www.va.gov/vaforms
Headstones and Markers
The VA furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.
For eligible veterans that died on or after November 1, 1990, the VA may also provide a head stone or marker for graves that already marked with a private headstone or marker. When the grave is already marked, applicants will have the option to apply for either a traditional headstone or marker, or the new medallion. Eligible veterans are entitled to either a government-furnished headstone or marker, or the new medallion, but not both.
Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for internment of cremated remains.
When burial or memorialization is in a national cemetery, state veterans cemetery, or military post/base cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next-of-kin or authorized representative.
Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a national cemetery, state veterans cemetery, or military post/base cemetery.
Placement of headstones in a private cemetery may be ordered by completing and submitting VA form 40-1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker. The application must be submitted by the next of kin or a representative, such as the funeral director, cemetery official or veterans counselor, along with copies of veterans military discharge documents. Do not send original documents, as they will not be returned.
Types of Headstones and Markers Available
- Upright Marble or Upright Granite
- Flat Granite or Flat Marble
- Niche Bronze
- Veterans’ Medallion (each Service has its own medallion)
Applications for memorial services benefits should be mailed to –
Memorial Programs Services (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903
Applications may also be sent by fax to (800) 455-7143. When using the toll free fax number, do not send a paper copy of the application through the mail.
Note: There is no charge for the headstone or marker itself; however, arrangements for placing it in a private cemetery are the applicant’s responsibility and all setting fees are at private expense.