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NCA adds options for commemorative plaques and urns

Beginning June 10, families of deceased and cremated Veterans can apply to receive commemorative plaques or urns from VA if they 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 an 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 of their choice. If the family chooses to receive a plaque or an urn to commemorate their Veteran, their decision cannot be undone. The law does not provide a method to restore these benefits.

To be eligible, the Veteran (or service member who died on active duty) must have served in the Armed Forces on or after April 6, 1917; the Veteran must be eligible for a headstone or marker under 38 U.S.C. § 2306(d), and the Veteran’s remains must have been cremated—with no portion of the remains interred at any location. 

More information about NCA memorial options can be found on the VA website. 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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