Burial and Survivor Benefits for Veterans

Learn about burial and survivor benefits for veterans and how to access them.

Burial Benefits for Veterans

Most U.S. veterans are eligible for burial and memorial benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration.

Burial at a National Cemetery or a Private Cemetery

Note: The Army, not the VA, operates Arlington National Cemetery.

Schedule a Burial

To schedule a burial at a VA national cemetery:

  1. Fax all discharge documentation to 1-866-900-6417 or email it to NCA.Scheduling@va.gov
  2. Call 1-800-535-1117. Be prepared to state the cemetery of choice, the type of religious emblem for the headstone, the funeral director's contact information, and other information listed in Step 2 on the Schedule a Burial page.

Life Insurance and Survivor Benefits for Servicemembers and Veterans

Life Insurance

If you are in the military, you are automatically signed up for servicemembers life insurance. You can purchase veterans life insurance for a limited time after you are discharged.

Survivor Benefits Plan for Military Retirees

Your pension ends when you die unless you sign up for the Survivor Benefit Plan when you retire.

If you are the survivor of a Department of Defense military retiree, promptly report the death to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). If you are the survivor of a Coast Guard retiree, contact the Coast Guard Pay & Personnel Center.

Benefits for Survivors of Veterans

You may qualify for (VA) survivor benefits if:

  • You are the survivor of a servicemember or veteran whose death is service-related.
  • You are the dependent of a servicemember or veteran whose total disability is service-related.

You may also qualify for CHAMPVA. It is a health care program in which the VA shares the costs of services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries.

If you are a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary, you may also be eligible for VA benefits.

For more information, contact the VA.

National Cemeteries

There are more than 100 national cemeteries maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) across the United States. Typically, military personnel who died on active duty, veterans, and their spouses and dependents are eligible to be buried in a national cemetery. VA also has a grave site locator if you need to find the burial location of a veteran.

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) manages overseas military cemeteries, memorials, monuments, and markers, nearly all of which honor Americans who served in World War I or World War II. You can search for individuals buried or memorialized overseas, or locate ABMC cemeteries and memorials.

The most famous national cemetery—Arlington National Cemetery—is maintained by the U.S. Army and has its own eligibility requirements.

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Last Updated: November 9, 2018