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Beginning on June 10, families of deceased and cremated Veterans can apply to receive commemorative plaques or urns from VA if they who do not want to inter their loved ones in a VA National Cemetery or receive a government-furnished headstone, marker, or medallion for placement in any cemetery. 

 

Commemorative urns are used to hold the remains of a deceased cremated Veteran, and commemorative plaques are designed to hang on a wall. Both the urns and the plaques honor a Veteran’s service and serves as a lasting tribute to the individual’s status as a Veteran. Eligible family members can request one or the other, but not both. 

 

It’s important to note that, if a family chooses a plaque or urn to commemorate a Veteran, VA is prohibited by law from interring that Veteran’s remains in a VA national cemetery or from providing a headstone, marker, or medallion for placement in any cemetery. Families should be certain when choosing to receive a plaque or urn to commemorate their Veteran, because once this decision is made, it cannot be undone. The law does not provide a method to restore these benefits.

 

This new memorial option is being created as a part of the “Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020.” 

 

To be eligible, the Veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable on or after April 6, 1917, and the Veteran’s remains must be cremated – with no portion of the remains interred at any location.  Eligibility also includes any Servicemember of the Armed Forces of the United States who died on active duty.  

 

More information about NCA memorial options, can be found here. More details including an application for commemorative plaques and urns will be available on June 10. Information about VA burial and memorial benefits is available online, at VA national cemeteries, or by calling toll-free at 1-800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at any VA national cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117. VA also encourages Veterans to apply for Pre-Need Eligibility to establish eligibility for VA burial and memorial benefits in advance of need.

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