Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

National Cemetery Administration

 

Unclaimed Veteran Remains

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) works with Veteran service groups, funeral industry partners, public administrators, and other concerned citizens to ensure the dignified burial of unclaimed Veterans.

A VA pension or other compensation is not a pre-requisite for unclaimed Veterans to receive burial benefits.

Below is a step-by-step process for determining eligibility and arranging burial for unclaimed Veterans.

Video: NCA Cares for Unclaimed Veterans

Step 1: Determine eligibility

Contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117 to determine if the decedent is a Veteran and eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery.

OR

State or tribal Veterans cemeteries also offer burial options for eligible Veterans. Contact the state or tribal Veterans cemetery directly for eligibility determination and scheduling the burial.

Step 2: Arrange for the deceased, unclaimed Veteran's burial

In a National Cemetery: Contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117 to arrange burial for eligible Veterans in any VA national cemetery with available space.

OR

In a State or Tribal Veterans Cemetery: Contact the state or tribal Veterans cemetery to schedule the burial.

OR

In a Private Cemetery: Veterans buried in a private cemetery may be entitled to a headstone or marker. To apply, complete VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker.
NOTE: VA will ship the headstone or marker anywhere in the world, but the cost of setting the headstone or marker is the responsibility of the requestor.

Step 3: Apply for monetary burial benefits associated with burial of unclaimed Veteran

Eligibility may depend on the Veteran's place of burial.

VA encourages application for these benefits. For some of the benefits described below, VA can only pay the benefit if the Veteran died with no next of kin or other person claiming their remains, and without sufficient resources available to cover burial and funeral expenses.

Monetary Burial Benefits Available for Unclaimed Veterans by Place of Burial

National Cemetery:

Reimbursement for the Cost of a Casket or Urn

Reimbursement for Transportation to the closest national cemetery

Burial Allowance

VA-Funded State or Tribal Veterans Cemetery:

Reimbursement for the Cost of a Casket or Urn

Burial Allowance

Plot or Interment Allowance (see applicant information in "Plot or Interment Allowances" description below)

Private Cemetery:

Burial Allowance

Plot or Interment Allowance

Casket or Urn Reimbursement Program

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will reimburse for the purchase of a casket or urn used to inter a deceased, Unclaimed Veteran in a VA national cemetery or a VA-funded state or tribal Veterans cemetery if the Veteran died with no identifiable next of kin and insufficient resources to pay for a casket or urn.

Who?

Any individual or entity that pays for a casket or urn used to inter an eligible Unclaimed Veteran, in a VA national cemetery or VA-grant funded state or tribal Veterans cemetery.

What?

VA will reimburse the purchase price, as shown on an invoice, for the cost of a casket or urn up to the maximum allowed, for a 20-gauge metal casket or a durable plastic urn.

The maximum allowable reimbursement payable in calendar year 2021 is $1,984 for a casket and $145 for an urn.

How?

Applicants must submit VA Form 40-10088, Request for Reimbursement of Casket/Urn via fax to 1-540-658-7281 or via mail to the National Cemetery Administration, Attention: Casket/Urn Reimbursements, P.O. Box 335, Garrisonville, VA 22463-0335.

Required Documentation for Reimbursement purposes includes the following:

Invoice or bill of sale showing model number and cost of casket or urn.

Completed and signed VA Form 10091, VA-FSC Vendor File Request Form or previously assigned Vendor ID.

Casket and Urn Standards

Applicants should bring VA Form 40-10088 with them at the time of the interment with Part I completed for cemetery staff to review. A VA National Cemetery official will complete Part II with the applicant the day of the interment and verify that the casket or urn meets the following standards at the interment:

A casket must be of at least 20-gauge metal (thickness), designed to contain human remains and include a gasketed seal and external fixed rails or swing arm handles.

An urn must be made of a durable material, such as plastic, wood, metal, or ceramic, designed to hold cremated human remains, and include a secure closure to contain the cremated remains.

For information on other benefits available to provide Unclaimed Veterans with a dignified burial, please see the Unclaimed Veteran Remains section.