Many veterans don’t know they have VA burial benefits, says Rex Kern, the new director of Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries in San Diego. Neither do many veterans’ families.
But help is only a phone call away, he says. Staff members at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (619-553-2084) or at Miramar National Cemetery (858-658-7360) can provide assistance. Families can schedule the burial of their veteran by calling the VA scheduling office at 800-535-1117. The office is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Central Standard Time.
Help also is available at the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) website at www.cem.va.gov/burial_benefits. The website provides a full range of information, including explanations of burial benefits eligibility, assistance with scheduling a burial, and toll-free contact phone numbers.
Among other benefits, veterans are eligible for free interments, engraved headstones and flat grave markers. The VA also will provide, at no cost to the family, a bronze medallion, indicating branch of service, that can be attached to the gravestone of a veteran buried in a private cemetery.
The NCA website also has information about Presidential Memorial Certificates, military funeral honors, burial flags, burial allowances, survivors’ benefits, burial benefits for spouses and disabled children, and benefits for women and minority veterans.