The U.S. military is required to provide a military detail at the funeral that includes at least two uniformed members. One member must be from the branch of service in which the deceased served.
Eligibility is limited to:
- Military members who die while on active duty.
- Honorably discharged retirees and veterans who completed one or more terms of enlistment.
- Reservists who completed the initial obligated service and left under conditions other than dishonorable.
Those discharged due to disabilities incurred or aggravated in the line of duty. At the request of the veteran's family, each eligible veteran receives a military funeral honors ceremony including the folding and presenting of the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps.
The VA burial allowance is a partial reimbursement of burial and funeral costs.
You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:
- You paid for a veteran's burial or funeral; and
- You were not reimbursed by another government agency or some other source such as the deceased veteran's employer; and
- The veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
- The veteran died because of a service-related disability;
- The veteran was either receiving or entitled to receive a VA pension or compensation at the time of death;
- The veteran died in a VA hospital or in a nursing home under VA contract.
For service-related deaths the VA pays up to $2,000 toward burial expenses. If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of moving the deceased may be reimbursed. For non service-related deaths, the VA pays up to $300 toward burial, funeral expenses and a $300 plot interment allowance. If the death happened while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under contracted nursing home care, the cost of moving the deceased may be reimbursed. To apply complete VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Allowance, available at www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-530a-ARE.pdf. You must apply within two years of death and will need a copy of the deceased's military discharge, death certificate and paid funeral and burial bills.
Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Cemetery
- Located in Wrightstown is the only New Jersey state-operated veterans' cemetery.
Burial is free to those who are eligible and includes:
- Burial plot and grave liner.
- Interment service.
- Use of the chapel.
- U.S. bronze grave marker and granite base.
- Maintenance in perpetuity.
Burial requests must be made at the time of death through the funeral director. Families can contact the cemetery office directly about interring cremated remains. Although not required, veterans can preregister their intent to be interred at the cemetery or at any state veterans service office.
Those eligible for burial must have lived in New Jersey at least half their lives and at death were:
- Military members on active duty.
- Honorably discharged retirees and veterans.
- Reservists with 20 years service creditable to retired pay.
- Reservists who died from injuries incurred while on active duty or training.
- Legal spouses of the above.
- Unmarried children of the above under the age of 21 (23 if in educational institution or mentally or physically handicapped).
All applicants will have to supply a Proof of Service. This includes original or certified copy of the veteran's separation or discharge papers (called DD214 or WD Form 53 for World War II veterans, or valid letter of "Notification of Eligibility for Retired Pay at Age Sixty" provided by the Reserve Component Command) and proof of legal residence (driver's license; phone bills; continuous voting record and; records of personal and/or property tax payments). For more information, contact 609.758.7250 or visit www.state.nj.us/military/cemetery/index.html.
Arlington National Cemetery
Burial space at Arlington National Cemetery is restricted to those who were honorably discharged from the Armed Forces and:
- Died on active duty.
- Served 20 years or more on active duty or active reserve duty which qualified them for retirement pay either upon retirement or at age 60 and those retired for a disability.
- Honorably discharged with 30 percent or more disability before October 1, 1949.
- Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star or Purple Heart recipients.
- The spouse, unmarried child (under 21; under 23 if student) or an unmarried adult child of any of the above.
- Under certain conditions, a veteran who is the parent, brother, sister or child of an eligible person already interred. Interment must be in the same grave as the primary eligible.
Arlington also has a columbarium for the cremated remains of any honorably discharged veteran, their spouse and/or dependent children.
For more information, call Arlington National Cemetery at 1.877.907.8585 or visit www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.
Burial in Other National Veterans Cemeteries
There are other national veterans cemeteries in the U.S. in addition to Arlington. Only two are located in New Jersey.
Finns Point National Cemetery in Salem, N.J. is open to the burial of cremated remains. May accommodate casketed remains in same grave as previously interred family member. Call 609.877.5460 or 609.880.0827.
Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, N.J. is closed to new interments, however, space may be available in same gravesite of previously interred family member. Call 609.880.0827.
Those eligible for burial in national veterans cemeteries include:
- Military members who die on active duty.
- Honorably discharged retirees, veterans who served at least 24 months after 9/7/80 for enlisted personnel and after 10/16/81 for officers.
- Reservists over 60 who collect reservist pensions, or would have if they had lived to age 60.
- Reservists who died due to injuries incurred while on active duty or training.
- Legal spouses.
- Unmarried children under age 21 (23 if in school); any age if mentally or physically handicapped.
Dishonorably discharged veterans or those found guilty of capital crimes or subversive activities, divorced spouses of veterans and other family members not listed here are ineligible.
VA Burial Benefits:
20 Washington Place Newark, NJ 07102
1 (800) 827-1000
Memorial Program Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road Quantico, VA 22134-3903
1 (800) 697-6947