The Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or Military Gravemarker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death. For eligible Veterans that died on or after Nov. 1, 1990, the VA may also provide a Government headstone or Military Gravemarker for graves that are already marked with a private headstone or marker. When the grave is already marked, applicants will have the option to apply for either a traditional headstone or marker, or a new device (available spring 2009).
Flat markers in Granite, Marble, and Bronze and Upright headstones in Granite and Marble are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial and/or cemetery. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria, used for inurnment of cremated remains.
When burial or memorialization is in a National cemetery, State Veterans' cemetery, or Military post/base cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin or authorized representative.
Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a Government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a National cemetery, State veteran's cemetery, or Military post/base cemetery.
There is no charge for the headstone or marker itself, HOWEVER, arrangements for placing it in a private cemetery are the applicant's responsibility and there may be additional fees associated with this process from the cemetery or other entities. All additional fees and setting fees are at the family’s private expense and responsibility.
We suggest that if burial will be in a private cemetery and a Government headstone or marker or medallion will be requested for the Veteran’s grave, that the family complete, in advance, one of the following forms and place it with the Veteran’s military discharge papers for use at the time of need:
Mikal’s Funeral Parlor wants to make sure that you are educated and in the know. You may want to ask the following questions when preparing for burial in a private cemetery:
When responding to an offer of a "free" gravesite for Veterans, ask if there is a requirement to purchase an additional gravesite.
If an additional gravesite is required, where will it be located and what is the cost?
What type of trust fund does the cemetery have to protect buyers?
Ask if there are restrictions on the type of headstone or marker that can be used to mark the grave.
Does the cemetery require a special marker base to be purchased prior to ordering a free government marker for a Veteran's grave?
Is there an additional cost for the placement, setting or care of a free government headstone or marker? Is it more than if a private headstone or marker is purchased?
Is an outside container (usually called a "vault" or "grave liner") required and how much does it cost?
Know what you are receiving and what is required by the cemetery company and have them put it in writing prior to burial.