Honoring Our Heroes: Unveiling the Importance of the Veterans Burial Benefits that are available at no cost.
When it comes to honoring our brave men and women who have selflessly served our country, there are
Qualified Veterans have earned FREE burial or cremation space at a National Cemetery. Burial in a National Cemetery is open to all members of the United States Armed Forces and Veterans who have met the minimum active service duty requirements and were discharged under circumstances other than dishonorable. Additionally, their spouse, widow or widower, minor children, children with disabilities, and, under certain conditions, unmarried adults, may be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried, even if they predecease the Veteran.
Members of the reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces who die while on active duty, or while
performing training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial.
The Veterans Burial Program educates veterans and their spouses about the burial and memorial benefits they are eligible for through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and assists them in putting a burial or cremation plan in place to assure they receive this valuable benefit and see that their wishes are carried out.
The program assists veterans and families in seven areas:
“You should advise your family of your wishes and where your discharge papers are kept. These papers are very important in establishing your eligibility. Upon request, VA will make eligibility determinations for burial in a VA national cemetery in advance of need.
…your family would contact a funeral home who will assist them with making burial arrangements at the national cemetery. You may wish to make pre-need arrangements with a funeral home.”
A few years ago I was talking to an old Korean War Veteran who said, “I told my wife that when I die, all she needs to do is call the National Cemetery office. They will come and get me and take care of everything for you.”
Someone in the past had told him that the Veterans Administration would take care of all the expenses relating to his funeral. He assumed that expenses like the casket, transportation to the cemetery, death certificates, embalming or cremation were all covered.
Many Veterans have the mistaken idea that the National Cemetery has a mortuary or a crematory and all that their family needs to do is hand over a copy of the DD-214 and it’s all taken care of. They believe that their space is reserved and all expenses are paid for. The great news is that cemetery expenses are indeed free for you, your spouse and your dependent children if you qualify. However, funeral obligations fall squarely on you! Here is the easy way to remember this: Inside the gate – your cost is free; Outside the gate – you pay the fee! It’s a good thing we were able to help him before it was too late. If his family would have followed his mistaken advice and waited until his death, they would have been in for a heart wrenching financial disaster.
A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of deceased Veterans who are eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
Retired Major General - Army
Retired Master Sergeant - USAF
Retired Lt. Colonel -USAF
Veterans Burial Program Counselors are knowledgeable, state-licensed and professionally trained. The Veterans Burial Program has assisted thousands of Veterans and families all over Southern California. Counselors are always available to speak to you or your Veteran organization. Contact us to schedule a personal appointment. You will be glad you did!
If you were honorably discharged, your spouse is eligible to be buried or interred with you at no charge.
No. Everything inside the gates of the National Cemetery is free for the veteran and spouse; however, all other expenses (including casket, transportation, cremation costs, etc.) are the responsibility of the veteran and their family.
No. Space at Riverside National Cemetery is assigned at the time of need.
Military funeral honors consist of folding and the presenting of the United States flag and the playing of taps. A funeral honors detail consists of two or more uniformed members of the armed forces, with at least one member from the deceased’s branch of service.
Family members should inform their funeral director if they want military funeral honors. The DoD maintains a special toll-free number for use by funeral directors only to request honors.
Since the VA does not make funeral arrangements or perform cremations, families should request that a file be opened with a funeral provider or cremation office. This file is prepared to assist you and your next of kin in carrying out your final wishes to include interment in Riverside National Cemetery.
Thank you for taking the first step in creating a meaningful and lasting legacy. Our dedicated team is here to assist you every step of the way.