Burial in VA National / NC State Veterans Cemeteries

Burial in VA National Cemeteries

Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible veterans, their spouses, and dependents at no cost to the family and includes the gravesite, grave liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine.

The funeral director or the next of kin makes interment arrangements by contacting the national cemetery in which burial is desired. VA normally does not conduct burials on weekends. Gravesites cannot be reserved; however, VA will honor reservations made under previous programs.

Eligibility

  • Any deceased veteran discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces under conditions other than dishonorable is eligible for burial in a National Cemetery.
  • Military service after September 7, 1980, requires a minimum of 24 months of service except for special circumstances.
  • Individuals with 20 or more years of service in the National Guard or Reserves, entitled to retired pay are eligible for burial.
  • Spouses, surviving spouses, dependent children, and adult, handicapped children are eligible for burial.

Only one gravesite is authorized for the internment of all eligible members of a family.

View VA National Cemetery resources

Burial in NC State Veterans Cemetery

A free burial plot is provided at a North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery for eligible North Carolina veterans and their legal spouse (and dependents under certain conditions). Veterans must be discharged under honorable conditions and meet certain residency requirements.

Eligibility

  • A Qualified Veteran
    • Any former member of the U.S. Armed Forces whose service on active duty, other than for training, was terminated under honorable conditions.
    • A veteran who is entitled to retired pay for non-regular service (i.e., service in the Reserve Components or Army or Air National Guard) or a veteran who would have been entitled to retired pay for non-regular service, but for the fact that the person was under 60 years of age.
  • North Carolina Resident
    • Only those veterans who are legal residents of North Carolina (1) at the time of death, (2) for a period of at least 10 years, or (3) at the time the veteran entered the Armed Forces of the United States are eligible for interment.
  • Dependent(s)
    • The spouse, widow, or widower of a qualified veteran or a minor child who is unmarried and dependent on the qualified veteran at the time of death. For purposes of definition, a "minor child" includes a child under 21 years of age or under 23 years of age if pursuing a course of instruction at an educational institution approved by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, an unmarried adult child of a qualified veteran who became permanently incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability before attaining the age of 18 years is also eligible.

View NC State Veterans Cemetery resources

Proof of Eligibility

Documentary evidence is required to provide proof and substantiate military service, residence, marriage, and children as well as dependency disability. It is the responsibility of the veteran, his survivors, or legal representative to furnish any evidence necessary to establish the eligibility of the veteran or the family member before interment in an NC State Veterans Cemetery can be approved and accomplished.

Proof of Military Service

The primary document used to verify honorable military service is the DD Form 214. The DD Form 214 is more commonly called a discharge or "Report of Separation from Active Duty". Other forms of proof may be acceptable pending verification.

North Carolina Residency

Verification of residence at time of entry into military service is documented on the DD Form 214. Residence at time of death and 10-year residency can be verified by North Carolina tax records, voter registration, personal income tax or property tax, employment or education records, and official records from U.S. government, state, or municipal agencies.

Dependents

The primary source for verification of a spouse is a marriage certificate. Dependent children may be verified by a birth certificate or other legal documents, such as adoption papers.

Proof of Disability of an Adult Dependent

A letter is required from the dependent's physician certifying the dependent became permanently incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability before attaining the age of 18 years. Medical records and other documents will be considered only as supporting or corroborating documents.

General Information

There is no charge for the grave site or necessary interment services for a qualified veteran. There is, however, a burial fee for an eligible spouse or family member.

Only government-furnished headstones will be authorized for use in the state veterans' cemeteries. There is no charge for installing the headstones. Government headstones are ordered from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs after consulting with the surviving family members.

Graveside services are not permitted. Committal services will be held in the chapel or at a committal shelter on the cemetery grounds. Family members may return to the grave site after the burial of the casket or urn is complete and the area is cleared of all equipment and materials.