The United States of America honors the men and women who have selflessly served this country over the course of history. Among available benefits for veterans and their families is the U.S. Veterans Administration’s provision of a burial headstone or marker. Burial flags and Presidential certificates can be requested as well.
Survivors of eligible individuals can apply for a headstone by visiting va.gov and accessing the “Burials and Memorials” section. Information and an application is available under the “Veterans headstones, markers, and medallions” tab.
Requirements for graves in private cemeteries
Spouses and other family members may also be eligible for a headstone or marker, even if they died before the veteran. However, spouses and family members buried in a private cemetery are not eligible.
Individuals applying for a burial or memorial item to be situated in a private cemetery should be aware that while they will not have to pay for a headstone or marker, they are responsible for the cost of having it placed (the setting fee) and for making arrangements to have it placed.
Application for a memorial item may be submitted by mail, fax or online:
For a headstone, grave marker or niche marker, download VA Form 40-1330 and send by regular mail to Memorial Product Service (41B), Department of Veteran Affairs, 5109 Russell Road, Quantico, VA, 22134-3903; fax it to 800-455-7143; or submit the application online at eauth.va.gov/accessva.
Visit va.gov/burials-memorials to review eligibility information and to prepare
Any veteran who was not dishonorably discharged or who died while on active duty may be eligible, though there are some additional requirements:
Enlisted personnel and officers
Enlisted personnel who served before September 7, 1980 or officers who served before October 16, 1981, must have died on or after November 1, 1990 and have their grave marked with a privately purchased headstone or are buried in an unmarked grave.
Enlisted personnel who served after September 7, 1980 or officers who served after October 16, 1981, the above requirements apply, but the veteran also must have served a minimum of 24 months of continuous active duty or died while serving.
National Guard and reservists
National Guard members and reservists may also be eligible, provided that the National Guard member was entitled to retirement pay at the time of death, or served in a federal status. Reservists may be eligible if they were entitled to retirement pay at the time of their death, or were called to active duty.