Resource Type:

Service

Provided By:

VA


Veterans, service members, and some family members may be eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery. Find out if you, or a person you’re planning a burial for, can get this benefit.

Who’s eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery?

Veterans, service members, spouses, and dependents may be eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery, as well as other benefits, if they meet one of the requirements listed below.

One of these must be true. The person qualifying for burial benefits is:

  • A Veteran who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, or
  • A service member who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training, or
  • The spouse or minor child of a Veteran, even if the Veteran died first, or
  • In some cases, the unmarried adult dependent child of a Veteran

Eligibility information for specific groups

Individuals who aren’t eligible

Certain family members

These family members aren’t eligible:

  • A former spouse who isn’t also a Veteran whose marriage to an eligible Veteran or service member ended by annulment or divorce
  • Family members of a Veteran convicted of subversive activities (unless the Veteran receives a pardon from the President of the United States)
  • Other family members who don’t meet the eligibility requirements

Individuals who were drafted but then discharged before entering military service

Individuals aren’t eligible if they were ordered to report to an induction station, but were discharged at that point and never actually entered military service.

Veterans with a certain character of discharge

Veterans aren’t eligible if they:

  • Separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions, or
  • Have a character of service that disqualifies them

A VA regional office determines eligibility in cases where the Veteran has:

  • An undesirable, bad conduct, and any other type of discharge other than honorable, or
  • Multiple discharges of varying character

Veterans found guilty of a capital crime

Veterans aren’t eligible if:

  • They’ve been convicted of a federal or state capital crime and may receive a sentence of imprisonment for life or the death penalty—and the conviction is final, or
  • Clear and convincing evidence shows that they’ve committed a federal or state capital crime, but they couldn’t have a trial due to flight to avoid prosecution or death

These Veterans also don’t qualify for a Presidential Memorial Certificate, burial flag, headstone, or marker.

Veterans convicted of certain sex offenses

Veterans aren’t eligible if they were convicted of a Tier III sex offense and sentenced to a minimum of life imprisonment—and the conviction is final.

These Veterans also don’t qualify for a Presidential Memorial Certificate, burial flag, headstone, or marker.

Veterans convicted of subversive activities

Veterans aren’t eligible if they were convicted of subversive activities after September 1, 1959, unless they’ve received a pardon from the President of the United States.

What should I do if I received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge?

If you’ve received one of these discharge statuses, you may not be eligible for VA benefits.

There are 2 ways you can try to qualify:

Find out how to apply for a discharge upgrade
Learn about the VA Character of Discharge review process