Veterans and their eligible dependents are provided with headstones and markers at no cost through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. If the burial is in a national or state veteran’s cemetery or on a military post, the marker is ordered through the cemetery at the government’s expense. The cost to place the marker or headstone is normally included. Some state cemeteries will charge a nominal fee to set the stone.
If burial is in a private cemetery, the headstone or marker must be applied for through the Veterans Affairs office. The cost of the marker or headstone will be paid for by the government. The cost to place the memorial will not be included.
The information to be included on the marker will typically include the name of the deceased, the years of birth and death, and branch of service. Other information such as military grade, rank, war service may also be included but might incur a cost.
For burial in government cemeteries, the type of marker or headstone will depend on the style used by the specific cemetery. Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble and upright marble types are common. Markers for interred cremains are also available.
If the grave of the eligible veteran is already marked, you may apply for a medallion which may be affixed to the headstone.
To find out if you or your loved one is eligible to receive a marker or headstone through the Department of Public Affairs, visit the VA website. In general, the requirements for eligibility are the same as those for being buried in a veteran’s cemetery. You will also find links to the proper forms for ordering markers on the site.
In general, the requirements for this benefit are that the veteran died while on active duty, have been honorably discharged. The benefit also applies to those veterans whose remains are not recovered or identified, those who have been buried at sea, donated to science, or whose cremated remains have been scattered.