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Eligibility of Benefits
Deceased individuals eligible for this program are members of the uniformed services, veterans discharged under honorable conditions, United States civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command, and dependents of members, retirees, and veterans of the uniformed services. To be eligible you must be a veteran discharged or separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable who has completed the required period of service, and U.S. Armed Forces members who die on active duty.
Spouses and dependent children of eligible living and deceased veterans, and of current and deceased armed forces members, may also be eligible.
Note: The surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who remarried a non-veteran prior to October 31, 1990, and whose remarriage was terminated by death or divorce prior to or on that date is eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
A surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who remarried a non-veteran prior to October 31, 1990, and whose remarriage was intact on or after that date, however, is not eligible for burial in a national cemetery. A surviving spouse who remarries a non-veteran after October 31, 1990, is not eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
Free Burial Grave
The United States Government provides free burial in a National Cemetery to all those who are eligible. This includes the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbaria niches for the inurnment of cremated remains or special sections for burial of cremated remains.
Headstones and Markers
The United States Government provides headstones and markers for the graves of veterans and eligible dependents anywhere in the world which are not already marked. Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble and upright marble types are available to mark the grave of a veteran or dependent in the style consistent with exiting monuments at the place of burial. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria in national cemeteries used for inurnment of cremated remains.
Free Burial at Sea
Burial at sea is an old tradition of the Navy. Today it is used for final disposition of cremains and intact remains. It is offered to active duty, retired, and honorable veterans of all branches of the United States military. The burial at sea services are performed while the vessel is on official maneuvers. Therefore, it is impossible for the family to be present. The family will be notified by the commanding officer of that vessel of the date time, longitude, and latitude of the committal service.
We believe the following veterans information is correct and accurate. Please contact your local office for Veteran's Affairs for more up to date information and questions you may have.