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Burial Standards

Definition Burial Standards refer to the set of guidelines and criteria established by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the interment of eligible veterans, their spouses, and dependents. These standards encompass burial site specifications, types of headstones or markers, and the level of honors provided during the funeral service. The goal of these standards […]


Burial Standards refer to the set of guidelines and criteria established by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the interment of eligible veterans, their spouses, and dependents. These standards encompass burial site specifications, types of headstones or markers, and the level of honors provided during the funeral service. The goal of these standards is to ensure a dignified and respectful final tribute to the deceased and their service to the country.

Key Takeaways

  1. VA burial standards provide eligible veterans with dignified and respectful burial accommodations, including burial plots, headstones and markers, and presidential memorial certificates.
  2. Veterans who have been honorably discharged, met certain service requirements, and have not committed any disqualifying felonies can avail these burial benefits without any cost.
  3. Family members of the deceased veteran may also be eligible for burial benefits, such as burial in a national cemetery, depending on their relationship to the veteran and the specific rules and restrictions set by the VA.


The term “Burial Standards” is important in the context of VA benefits as it refers to the specific guidelines and criteria set by the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that veterans are provided with a dignified and respectful burial service.

These standards cover aspects such as eligibility, types of burial options, headstones or markers, memorial certificates, and burial flags, among others.

The proper understanding and adherence to these burial standards are crucial in honoring the service and sacrifices of veterans, as well as offering appropriate support and assistance to their families during times of grief.

By upholding these standards, the VA ensures that veterans and their families receive the essential benefits and recognition they deserve.


Burial standards within the context of VA benefits serve a significant purpose in honoring the memory and sacrifice of the deceased veterans who have served our country. These standards ensure that the final resting place for these individuals adheres to a specific set of requirements and regulations, which in turn allows for a dignified and befitting tribute to their service.

The purpose of these standards is to not only provide a respectful commemoration for the veterans but also to offer solace and a sense of pride to their families and the community as a whole. The VA burial standards are utilized for various aspects of the burial process, including the selection and maintenance of national cemeteries, the provision and placement of headstones or markers, and the arrangement of military funeral honors, among other benefits.

These guidelines are carefully designed and implemented to uphold the legacy of our nation’s heroes and to acknowledge the deep gratitude owed for their service. By maintaining these high standards for the burial of veterans, it ultimately ensures that the men and women who have served the United States are rightfully recognized and remembered for generations to come.

Examples of Burial Standards

The VA Benefits term “Burial Standards” refers to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ provision for the interment, funeral, and ceremonies of eligible veterans, ensuring that the deceased is treated with dignity, honor, and respect. Three real-world examples of these Burial Standards are:

National Cemetery Burial: The VA provides eligible veterans with burial options in 155 national cemeteries throughout the United States. These cemeteries are maintained as national shrines, and the deceased veterans are buried alongside their fellow servicemembers. The veteran’s family may choose a gravesite with a standard government headstone or marker, or they may opt for in-ground casket or cremation burial.

Presidential Memorial Certificates: A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of deceased veterans who were honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces. The VA assists in providing this certificate to the families of eligible veterans as a recognition of their service and sacrifice to the nation.

Military Funeral Honors: Veterans are entitled to military funeral honors, which include the folding and presentation of the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps at the veteran’s funeral. This ceremony is conducted by an honor guard detail consisting of at least two members of the Armed Forces, with at least one member from the deceased veteran’s service branch. The VA ensures that these honors are carried out in accordance with the Burial Standards, thus reflecting the nation’s deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended the country.

FAQ: Burial Standards for VA Benefits

What are the burial standards for VA benefits?

The burial standards for VA benefits include honoring eligible Veterans and their eligible dependents with a gravesite in any of the 155 national cemeteries, opening and closing of the gravesite, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family.

Who is eligible for burial benefits?

Veterans, active-duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, Public Health Service officers, and eligible spouses and dependent children are eligible for burial benefits. Some requirements include minimum active duty service, having a non-dishonorable discharge, and other service-related criteria.

How do I apply for burial benefits?

To apply for burial benefits, you will need to complete the VA Form 40-10007, Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery, and provide a copy of your military discharge document(s). This form can be submitted online, by mail, or in person at a VA regional office or national cemetery.

Can I choose the national cemetery where I want to be buried?

Yes, you can choose the national cemetery where you’d like to be buried. However, the availability of gravesites is dependent on the cemetery’s capacity. It’s recommended to apply for pre-need determination of eligibility to reserve a specific cemetery ahead of time.

What types of headstones or markers can be issued by the VA?

The VA provides various types of headstones and markers for eligible Veterans, including upright headstones, flat markers (both in granite, marble, or bronze), and niche markers for columbariums. The style of the headstone or marker will depend on the cemetery’s regulations and the applicant’s preference.

Are private cemeteries eligible for VA headstones or markers?

Yes, private cemeteries are eligible for VA headstones and markers. Veterans buried in private cemeteries can receive a government-furnished headstone, marker, or medallion, but the government will not cover the cost of placing the headstone or marker if it’s in a private cemetery.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Gravesite Maintenance
  • Headstone or Marker
  • Presidential Memorial Certificates
  • Interment Allowance
  • Survivor Benefits

Sources for More Information

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