When a Veteran, spouse, or dependent child dies, the person who plans the burial or memorial service has to take certain steps. You can also plan ahead for a burial in 1 of our 135 national cemeteries. Find out how to plan ahead or what to do if your family member has just died.
Can I plan ahead for my burial?
Yes. You can plan ahead to make the process of applying for a burial in a VA national cemetery easier for your family members when you die. To do this:
First, check to see if you qualify for VA burial and memorial benefits. Find out if you qualify.
Then, fill out the Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery (VA Form 40-10007). Download VA Form 40-10007. (To save your information in this form, make sure you have the latest free version of Adobe Reader.)
Send the application to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office in 1 of 2 ways:
- Send it by U.S. mail to:
- National Cemetery Scheduling Office
- P.O. Box 510543
- St. Louis, MO 63151
- Fax it to 855-840-8299
You’ll get a letter from us telling you if you can be buried in a VA national cemetery. This is called your pre-need decision letter. Keep it in a safe place. Your family members will need this letter to request your burial after you’ve died.
How do I plan a burial for a deceased family member?
If you have a pre-need decision letter confirming they can be buried in a VA national cemetery:
To start, you may want to choose a funeral director to help you plan the burial. Then either you or the funeral director can call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117 to request a burial.
You don’t need to do anything else except prepare yourself and your family for the funeral. Find out what to expect at a funeral.
If you don’t have a pre-need decision letter:
To start, you may want to choose a funeral director to help you plan the burial. Then either you or the funeral director will need to take these 2 steps to apply for a burial.
Gather these documents and other information you’ll need to identify the deceased:
- DD214, or similar discharge papers. If you can’t find the discharge papers, please ask for our help to get these records. Find out which discharge papers we accept along with your application.
- Full name, gender, Social Security number or Veteran ID, date of death, and date of birth
- Next-of-kin information (name, relationship, Social Security number, phone number, and address)
- Marital status
You may also need:
- If the deceased was married, the surviving spouse’s status as Veteran or family member
- The status and detailed information for any disabled children who may be buried in the future in a national cemetery
- The Veteran’s zip code and county at the time of death
- If the deceased is a spouse or a Veteran whose spouse has already died, the full name of the family member, cemetery section, and site number
Decide on the burial details and gather all related information, including:
- Your cemetery of choice
- Type of gravesite memorial. See your options for a headstone, marker, or niche cover.
- Type of burial: casket or cremation and size of the casket or cremation urn
- Whether you want military honors, a burial flag, or a Presidential Memorial Certificate
Contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office
The funeral director you’ve chosen can help you with these steps too:
For burial in a national cemetery, fax any discharge papers to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 866-900-6417. Or, scan and email the papers to NCA.Scheduling@va.gov with the Veteran’s name in the subject line.
Then call 800-535-1117 to confirm the burial application. Be sure to have all the information handy that’s listed above in the “Prepare” section.
Can I get information about the Burial at Sea program?
If you have questions about the Burial at Sea program, please contact the United States Navy Mortuary Affairs office toll free at 866-787-0081. Get more information about the Burial at Sea program.