VA Program Allows Advance Approval, Planning for Burial Benefits

VA Program Allows Advance Approval, Planning for Burial Benefits
Flags adorn gravesites at the National Memorial Cemetery at Quantico, Va., as part of a 2020 Memorial Day ceremony. (Photo by Lance Cpl. D’Angelo Yanez/Marine Corps)

By MOAA Staff


If you are considering a VA cemetery as your final resting place, the department’s Pre-Need Eligibility program can answer your questions now, rather than burden your family with them later.


The VA approved more than 55,000 Pre-Need applications in FY 2023, a year with more than 139,000 interments in national cemeteries, according to the department. The process can be completed online, or materials can be mailed or faxed.


What You’ll Need 

Veterans (or their beneficiaries) must have their Social Security number, birthplace, and some service history details commonly found on a DD-214. Those without a copy of their DD-214, or who need paperwork for a veteran sponsor, can learn more at this link. Please note you do not need to send in a copy of your DD 214 with your application, though it is preferred. If you’re applying on behalf of someone else, additional forms may be required to show you have the authority to do so.


You may also select a preferred cemetery from the current list of national cemeteries at this link – the form does not apply to Arlington National Cemetery or to state or tribal veterans cemeteries. Selecting a preferred cemetery does not mean you have to be buried in said cemetery or any national cemetery. Cemeteries are first-come, first-served due to space availability.


Once your material is prepared, you can:

  • Sign in and fill out materials online. You’ll either receive a notice by mail about the decision or a phone call requesting more information.
  • Download and complete this form. Return it via fax to (855) 840-8299 or by mail to NCA FP Evidence Intake Center, PO Box 5237, Janesville, WI 53547.


Other Benefits and Questions

Veterans planning burial at a private cemetery may be eligible for a no-charge headstone, marker, or medallion. Learn more about this benefit at this link.


For more information about the Pre-Need program, answers to benefits questions, or assistance in filling out eligibility forms for yourself or in support of a veteran, reach out to the VA’s National Cemetery Administration at (800) 535-1117 and select Option 4. The NCA scheduling office is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern.


MOAA Can Help

Consider these resources as you begin or continue your end-of-life planning process:

  • Everplans: This MOAA partner offers member-exclusive discounts on its digital vault, which can help you secure and organize your estate documents, among other materials.
  • Estate Planning Guide: This MOAA resource can help you plan for all aspects of your family’s future.
  • Your Guide to Military Burials: This resource covers your service-earned burial benefits in detail.
  • Surviving Spouse Resources: Links to publications, monthly features, and other resources for survivors, including planning documents.


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