Monday, May 25, 2015   

Burial Benefits

Burial Reimbursements

VA burial allowances are partial reimbursements of an eligible Veteran’s burial and funeral costs. When the cause of death is not service related, the reimbursements are generally described as two payments:  (1) a burial and funeral expense allowance, and (2) a plot or interment allowance.

Who Is Eligible?

You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:

  1. you paid for a Veteran’s burial or funeral, AND
  2. you have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased Veteran’s employer, AND
  3. the Veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:

  1. the Veteran died because of a service-related disability, OR
  2. the Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
  3. the Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay, OR
  4. the Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
  5. the Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR
  6. the Veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date of death, OR
  7. the Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA–approved state nursing home.

VA Headstone or Grave Marker

VA will provide a headstone or grave marker for eligible veterans buried anywhere in the world, and for eligible dependents buried with the veteran, in National Cemeteries, State Veterans' Cemeteries, or Military Post Cemeteries.

The style and type of marker furnished will depend on the rules of the particular cemetery. Niche markers are also available for identifying cremated remains in a columbarium.

The headstone or marker will generally contain the name of the deceased, the year of birth and death and (for the veteran) the branch of service. Optionally, the headstone or marker may also be inscribed with the deceased veteran's military grade, rank, or rate, complete dates of birth and death, an appropriate religious emblem, and a listing of any awards for valor.

If the burial is in a National Cemetery, a state veterans' cemetery, or a military post cemetery, the headstone or marker is ordered through the cemetery, which will place it on the gravesite. If the burial is in any other cemetery, the headstone or marker must be ordered from VA. A copy of the veteran's military discharge or supporting documentation of service must accompany the application.

Burial Flags

The following veterans are eligible to receive a VA furnished U.S. burial flag for memorialization:

  • Veterans who served during wartime or after January 31, 1955.
  • Veterans who were entitled to retired pay for service in the reserves, or would have been entitled if over age 60.
  • Members or former members of the Selected Reserve who served their initial obligation, or were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty, or died while a member of the Selected Reserve.
VA Form 21-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes, may be submitted to a VA Regional Office, to the National Cemetery office, or to a designated U.S. Post Office.

Military Funeral Honors

Upon request, the Department of Defense will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of "Taps." A funeral honors detail consists of two or more uniformed members of the armed forces, with at least one member from the deceased's branch of service. There are times when veterans' service organizations or volunteer groups may help provide honors.

Family members should inform their funeral directors if they want military funeral honors. DOD maintains a toll-free number for use by funeral directors ONLY to request honors. VA can help arrange honors for burials at VA national cemeteries.

Presidential Memorial Certificates

The Presidential Memorial Certificate Program was initiated in March 1962 by President John F. Kennedy to honor the memory of honorably discharged, deceased veterans and may be issued to the families or loved ones of any honorably discharged deceased veteran.

The Department of Veterans Affairs administers the program by preparing the certificates that bears the President's signature and expresses the country's grateful recognition of the veteran's service in the United States Armed Forces.

There is no time limit for requesting a Presidential Memorial Certificate. A copy of the veteran's honorable discharge from service is required with this request.

Our office can assist you with applying for any of these benefits. Please call us to schedule an appointment (910)253-2233. Bring the veteran's death certificate and DD-214 military discharge with you. If applying for the burial benefit, bring the itemized funeral bill and paid receipt with you.

Burial in VA National Cemeteries

Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible veterans, their spouses and dependents at no cost to the family and includes the gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine.

The funeral director or the next of kin makes internment arrangements by contacting the national cemetery in which burial is desired. VA normally does not conduct burials on weekends. Gravesites cannot be reserved; however VA will honor reservations made under previous programs.


  • Any deceased veteran discharged from the U. S. Armed Forces under conditions other than dishonorable is eligible for burial in a National Cemetery.
  • Military service after September 7, 1980, requires a minimum of 24 months of service except for special circumstances.
  • Individuals with 20 or more years of service in the National Guard or Reserves, entitled to retired pay are eligible for burial.
  • Spouses, surviving spouses, dependent children, and adult, handicapped children are eligible for burial.
Only one gravesite is authorized for the internment of all eligible members of a family.

NC National Cemeteries

New Bern National Cemetery
1711 National Avenue
New Bern, NC 28560
Phone: (252) 637-2912
           Salisbury National Cemetery
202 Government Road
Salisbury, NC 28144
Phone: (704) 636-2661 or 4621
Raleigh National Cemetery
501 Rock Quarry Road
Raleigh, NC 27610-3335
(For info contact Salisbury (704) 636-2661)
           Wilmington National Cemetery
2011 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28403
(For info contact New Bern (252) 637-2912

Burial in Arlington National Cemetery 

The following link will provide you with all the information needed in regards to burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

Burial in NC State Veterans Cemetery

A free burial plot is provided at a North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery for eligible North Carolina veterans and their legal spouse (and dependents under certain conditions). Veterans must be discharged under honorable conditions and meet certain residency requirements.


  1. A Qualified Veteran

  2. • Any former member of the U.S. Armed Forces whose service on active duty, other than for training, was terminated under honorable conditions.
    • A veteran who is entitled to retired pay for non-regular service (i.e., service in the Reserve Components or Army or Air National Guard) or a veteran who would have been entitled to retired pay for non-regular service, but for the fact that the person was under 60 years of age.

  3. North Carolina Resident

  4. • Only those veterans who are legal residents of North Carolina (1) at the time of death, (2) for a period of at least 10 years, or (3) at the time the veteran entered the Armed Forces of the United States are eligible for interment.

  5. Dependent(s)

  6. • The spouse, widow or widower of a qualified veteran or a minor child who is unmarried and dependent on the qualified veteran at the time of death. For purposes of definition, a "minor child" includes a child under 21 years of age or under 23 years of age if pursuing a course of instruction at an educational institution approved by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, an unmarried adult child of a qualified veteran who became permanently incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability before attaining the age of 18 years is also eligible.

Proof of Eligibility
Documentary evidence is required to provide proof and substantiate military service, residence, marriage and children as well as dependency disability. It is the responsibility of the veteran, his survivors or legal representative to furnish any evidence necessary to establish the eligibility of the veteran or the family member before interment in a NC State Veterans Cemetery can be approved and accomplished.

Proof of Military Service
The primary document used to verify honorable military service is the DD Form 214. The DD Form 214 is more commonly called a discharge or "Report of Separation from Active Duty". Other forms of proof may be acceptable pending verification.

North Carolina Residency
Verification of residence at time of entry into military service is documented on the DD Form 214. Residence at time of death and 10-year residency can be verified by North Carolina tax records, voter registration, personal income tax or property tax, employment or education records, official records from U.S. government, state or municipal agencies.

The primary source for verification of a spouse is a marriage certificate. Dependent children may be verified by a birth certificate or other legal documents, such as, adoption papers.

Proof of Disability of an Adult Dependent
A letter is required from the dependent's physician certifying the dependent became permanently incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability before attaining the age of 18 years. Medical records and other documents will be considered only as supporting or corroborating documents.

General Information
There is no charge for the grave site or necessary interment services for a qualified veteran. There is however, a burial fee for an eligible spouse or family member.

Only government furnished headstones will be authorized for use in the state veterans cemeteries. There is no charge for installing the headstones. Government headstones are ordered from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs after consulting with the surviving family members.

Graveside services are not permitted. Committal services will be held in the chapel or at a committal shelter on the cemetery grounds. Family members may return to the grave site after the burial of the casket or urn is complete and the area is cleared of all equipment and materials.

NC State Veterans Cemeteries

Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery
962 Old US 70 Highway
Black Mountain, NC 28711
Phone: (828)669-0684

Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetery
110 Montford Point Road
Mailing: P.O. Box 1486
Jacksonville, NC 28451
Phone: (910) 347-4550

Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery
400 Murchison Road
Mailing: P.O. Box 39
Spring Lake, NC 28390
Phone: 910-436-5630/5635

Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery
164 Longs Plant Farm Road
Goldsboro, NC 27534
*Under construction in 2015*