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Eligibility for a Headstone or Marker

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death. The VA may also furnish a headstone or marker for graves that are marked with a private headstone or marker, for Veterans that died on or after November 1, 1990.

 

For Veterans that served prior to World War I, a grave is considered marked when a headstone/marker displays the decedent's name only, or if the name was historically documented in a related document, such as by a number that is inscribed on a grave block and is recorded in a burial ledger.  For service during and after World War I, a grave is considered marked if a headstone/marker displays the decedent's name and date of birth and/or death, even though the Veteran's military data is not shown.

When burial or memorialization is in a national cemetery, state Veterans' cemetery, or military post/base cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin or authorized representative.

 

Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a Government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a national cemetery, state Veterans' cemetery, or military post/base cemetery.

For eligible veterans that died on or after Nov. 1, 1990 and whose grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone, VA may also furnish a headstone or marker to supplement the graves or a Medallion to be affixed to a privately purchased headstone.

Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains. The style chosen must be permitted by the officials in charge of the private cemetery where it will be placed.

 

When burial or memorialization is in a national cemetery, state Veterans' cemetery, or military post/base cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin or authorized representative.

Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a Government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a national cemetery, state Veteran's cemetery, or military post/base cemetery.

 

Note: There is no charge for the headstone or marker itself, however arrangements for placing it in a private cemetery are the applicant's responsibility and all setting fees are at private expense

Types of Headstones, Markers and Medallions Available

HEADSTONES

 

Upright Marble or
Upright Granite

 

Upright Types

 

These headstones are 42 inches long, 13 inches wide and 4 inches thick. Weight is approximately 230 pounds. Variations may occur in stone color, and the marble may contain light to moderate veining. 

(Shown is the Upright Marble)

MARKERS

Flat Types

 

The flat bronze grave marker is 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, with 3/4 inch rise. Weight is approximately 18 pounds. Anchor bolts, nuts and washers for fastening to a base are furnished with the marker. The government does not furnish a base.

The flat granite and flat marble grave marker is 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 4 inches thick. Weight is approximately 130 pounds. Variations may occur in stone color; the marble may contain light to moderate veining. 

Bronze Niche

 

This niche marker is 8 1/2 inches long, 5 1/2 inches wide, with 7/16 inch rise. Weight is approximately 3 pounds; mounting bolts and washers are furnished with the marker.

(Shown is the Flat Granite)

MEDALLIONS

 

Small Medallion

Medium or Large Medallion

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a medallion, by request, to be affixed to an existing, privately purchased headstone or marker to signify the deceased's status as a Veteran.

This device is furnished in lieu of a traditional Government headstone or grave marker for those Veterans whose death occurred on or after Nov. 1, 1990, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker.

Sizes: The medallion is available in three sizes: Large (6-3/8”W x 4-3/4”H x 1/2”D), Medium (3-3/4”W x 2-7/8”H x 1/4"D) and Small (2”W x 1-1/2”H x 1/3”D). Each medallion is inscribed with the word “VETERAN” across the top and the branch of service at the bottom.

 

Once a claim for a medallion is received and approved, VA will mail the medallion along with a kit that will allow the family or the staff of a private cemetery to affix the device to a headstone, grave marker, mausoleum or columbarium niche cover.

Important: This benefit is only applicable if the grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker. In these instances, eligible Veterans are entitled to either a traditional Government-furnished headstone or marker, or the new medallion, but not both.