The family of a veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable may be eligible for certain benefits at the time of death. This may include:
Since gravesites in a national cemetery cannot be arranged in advance, you should communicate your wishes to family or the person that would be responsible for your funeral arrangements. It is also important that this person know the location of your discharge papers (DD-214).
Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the Veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependent’s name and date of birth and death inscribed on the Veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the Veteran.
Complete information on Veteran’s burial benefits may be found at: http://www.cem.va.gov/
The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing military funeral honors. "Honoring Those Who Served” is the title of the DOD program for providing dignified military funeral honors to Veterans who have defended our nation.
Upon the family's request, Public Law 106-65 requires that every eligible Veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of “Taps.” The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one being a member of the Veteran's parent service of the armed forces. The DOD program calls for funeral home directors to request military funeral honors on behalf of the Veteran’s family. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration cemetery staff can also assist with arranging military funeral honors at VA national cemeteries. Veterans organizations may assist in providing military funeral honors. When military funeral honors at a national cemetery are desired, they are arranged prior to the committal service by the funeral home.
Questions or comments concerning the DOD military funeral honors program can be sent to:
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense For Public Affairs
Community Relations and Public Liaison
1400 Defense Pentagon, Room 2D982
Washington, DC 20301-1400