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Veterans Administration

Eligibility & How to Apply

To be eligible you must be a veteran discharged or separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable, and have completed the required period of service. U.S. Armed Forces members who die on active duty are also eligible, as are spouses and dependent children of eligible living and deceased veterans, and of current and deceased armed forces members. Contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at (800) 827-1000 for more information.

Veterans benefits are not paid automatically. It is your responsibility to contact the Veterans Administration. To ensure prompt handling of your claim, have the following information ready:

  • Social Security number for yourself and your dependent children
  • Certified copy of original DD124 (Enlisted Record and Report of Separation)
  • Certified copy of Death Certificate
  • Verification of the life insurance amount you will receive as a result of the veterans death
  • Paid receipts for hospital and doctor bills incurred by last illness, if applicable
  • Paid receipts for funeral and cemetery expenses
  • If either yourself or the veteran was previously married, provide a certified copy of the original divorce decree or death certificate proving the previous marriage was dissolved by divorce or death
  • If there are dependent children, you will need an original birth certificate for each child under 18 or over 18 if full-time student
  • If over 18 and still in school, you will need to fill out VA Form 21-674
  • If you or the veteran receive Social Security Benefits, the exact amount must be reported
  • If you already have a VA claim number, you must furnish the claim number you have been assigned
  • If you or the veteran receive additional income, the source and exact amount must be reported

Burial Flag

VA provides an American flag to drape the casket of a veteran. After the funeral service, the flag may be given to the next of kin or a close associate. VA also will issue a flag on behalf of a service member who was missing in action and later presumed dead. The funeral home can get the flag on your behalf, but we will need the discharge paper (DD-214).

Marking the Grave

VA provides headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of veterans anywhere in the world and for eligible dependents of veterans buried in national, state veteran or military cemeteries.

Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble, upright granite and upright marble types are available to mark the grave in a style consistent with the place of burial. Niche markers also are available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.

Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, the years of birth and death, and branch of service. Optional items that also may be inscribed at VA expense are: military grade, rank or rate; war service such as World War II; months and days of birth and death; an emblem reflecting one’s beliefs; valor awards; and the Purple Heart. Additional items may be inscribed at private expense.

When burial is in a national, state veteran or military cemetery, the headstone or marker is ordered through the cemetery, which will place it on the grave. Information regarding style, inscription, shipping and placement can be obtained from the cemetery.

When burial occurs in a cemetery other than a national cemetery or a state veterans cemetery,the headstone or marker must be applied for from VA. It is shipped at government expense to the consignee designated on the application. VA, however, does not pay the cost of placing the headstone or marker on the grave.

To apply, you must complete VA form 40-1330. Be sure to include telephone numbers and signatures. Use the information on the DD-214 and other supporting documents to help you fill out the application as completely as possible. Forms and assistance are available at VA regional offices.

To apply, mail your application to the Quantico, Virginia, mailing address. You may use either the US Postal Service, or one of the mail delivery services commercially available. Our address is:

Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903

For information regarding the status of an application, you may call the Director, Office of Memorial Programs (403B3) at 1-800-697-6947.

VA cannot issue a headstone or marker for a spouse or child buried in a private cemetery. Twenty year reservists without active duty service are eligible for a headstone or marker, if they are entitled to military retired pay at the time of death.

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