Federal Burial Benefits for Veterans
VA burial allowances are flat-rate monetary benefits that are generally paid at the maximum amount authorized by law for an eligible Veteran’s burial and funeral costs. A VA regulation change in 2014 simplified the program to pay eligible survivors quickly and efficiently. Eligible surviving spouses of record are paid automatically upon notification of a Veteran’s death, without the need to submit a claim. VA may grant additional benefits, including the plot or interment allowance and transportation allowance for a qualifying Veteran, if it receives a claim for these benefits.
How Much Does VA Pay?
If the Veteran died on or after September 1, 2001, the maximum service-connected burial allowance is $2,000. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, VA may reimburse some or all of the costs of transporting the deceased Veteran’s remains.
Non Service-Connected Death
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, VA will pay a $300 burial allowance and $747 for a plot.
Effective October 1, 2011, there are higher non-service-connected death rates payable if the Veteran was hospitalized by VA at the time of his or her death. If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2015, VA will pay a $747 burial allowance and $747 for a plot.
If the death occurred while the Veteran was properly hospitalized by VA, or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the Veteran’s remains may be reimbursed.
Note: If the Veteran dies while traveling at VA expense for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, VA will pay burial and plot allowances and transportation expenses.
The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing military funeral honors. "Honoring Those Who Served" is the title of the DOD program for providing dignified military funeral honors to Veterans who have defended our nation. Call the appropriate service below to schedule military funeral honors.
- Army: 270-798-4729
- Air Force: 478-926-9775
- Coast Guard: 314-269-2321
- Marine Corps: 703-432-9524
- Navy: 877-478-3988
- TN National Guard: 615-355-3700
Burial in a VA Cemetery
This benefit is based on eligibility and availability. Many states have established State run Veterans cemeteries. Eligibility is similar to Department of Veterans Affairs National cemeteries, but MAY include residency requirements.
Cemeteries established under the grant program must conform to the standards and guidelines pertaining to site selection, planning and construction prescribed by VA. Cemeteries must be operated solely for the burial of service members who die on active duty, veterans, and their eligible spouses and dependent children. Any cemetery assisted by a VA grant must be maintained and operated according to the operational standards and measures of the National Cemetery Administration.
The Tennessee Department of Veterans Services currently maintains and manages four Veterans Cemeteries in the state to include one in Nashville, one in Memphis and two in Knoxville. The National and State Veteran's Cemeteries offer Veterans the opportunity to pre-register for burial, thus providing some relief for their loved ones.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's In Memory Program honors Vietnam veterans whose lives were cut short as a result of their service in Vietnam, but are not eligible for inscription on The Wall under Department of Defense guidelines. In Memory is a way that all Vietnam Veterans can be honored on the National Mall.
Headstones, Markers & Medallions
The Department of Veterans Affairs (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.
Memorial headstones and markers, for individuals or groups, are furnished for eligible deceased active duty service members and Veterans whose remains are not recovered or identified, are buried at sea, donated to science or whose cremated remains have been scattered. These headstones and markers bear an "In Memory of" inscription as their first line and must be placed in a recognized cemetery.
Presidential Memorial Certificates
A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased Veterans.
Burial in a Private Cemetery
The Department of Veterans Affairs (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. Arrangements for setting a Government-furnished headstone or marker in a private cemetery are the applicant's responsibility and all placement costs are at private expense. Some Veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances.
A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased Veteran who served honorably in the U. S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a Veteran’s military service to his or her country.