A Basic FAQ for Veterans andtheir Families

While Sharon is available to answer your questions 24/7, she also knows that getting the answers to the most common questions she hears regarding veterans’ services available A Special Touch will help your family.

What is included in veterans burial benefits?

Veterans’ burial benefits available include:

- A gravesite in any of the 125 national cemeteries with available space

- Opening and closing of the grave

- Perpetual care

- A Government headstone or marker

- A burial flag

- A Presidential Memorial Certificate

Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.The VA suggests that if burial will be in a private cemetery and a Government headstone or marker will be requested for the veteran’s grave, that the family apply for one in advance so that the application can be placed with the veterans military discharge papers for use at the time of need.Gravesites in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries cannot be reserved in advance; however, reservations made prior to 1962 will be honored. Families are encouraged to prepare in advance by discussing cemetery options, and collecting the veteran’s military information including discharge papers.

Are Veteran's dependents eligible for burial benefits?

Burial benefits available for spouses and eligible 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 will be inscribed on the veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family. Spouses and eligible dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the veteran.

How do I arrange for Military Honors?

Upon the family's request, the law allows 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 a member of the veteran's parent service of the Armed Forces.

All you need to do is inform Sharon of your wishes, as it is her responsibility to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veterans' family. Please be aware that local veterans’ organizations may assist in the provision of military funeral honors at local cemeteries. When military funeral honors at a national cemetery are desired, they are arranged prior to the committal service by the funeral home.

What kind of headstone will the government provide?

The VA furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world.

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. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains

What is the Presidential Memorial Certificate?

A Presidential Memorial Certificate is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans. It is given as an expression of the country’s grateful recognition of the veteran’s service in the United States Armed Forces. Eligible recipients include the deceased veteran’s next of kin and loved ones, and more than one certificate may be provided. Sharon will assist you in the completion of the required paperwork.

How can I be buried at sea?

Burial at Sea is a means of final disposition of remains that is performed on United States Navy vessels. The committal ceremony is performed while the ship is deployed. Therefore, family members are not allowed to be present. The commanding officer of the ship assigned to perform the ceremony will notify the family of the date, time, and, longitude and latitude once the committal service has been completed. Should you desire a burial at sea, Sharon will prepare the required paperwork.

If your question wasn’t addressed here, please call Sharon at (925) 875-1343. She will be able to provide you with the answers you’re looking for – and, if needed, she’ll set an appointment to come to your home for a deeper discussion of veterans’ burial benefits.