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M21-1, Part VII, Chapter 1, Section D – Memorialization

Overview

In This Section

This section contains the following topics:

Topic
Topic Name
1
2
3

 1.  Presidential Memorial Certificates (Certificate)


Introduction


Change Date

March 17, 2017

VII.1.D.1.a.Qualifying Eligibility for a Certificate

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may issue a Presidential Memorial Certificate (Certificate) to eligible persons to honor the memory and service of
  • Veterans who received an “honorable” or “general under honorable conditions” discharge, and
  • Servicemembers who died while on active military service.
Wartime service is not a prerequisite nor does a death certificate need to be of record before a Certificate can be issued.
Reference:  For more information about Certificate eligibility, see National Cemetery Administration (NCA) website.

VII.1.D.1.b.  Who Is Eligible to Receive Certificate

A Certificate may be authorized to the following persons:
  • next-of-kin
  • relative or friend upon request, or
  • authorized service organization representatives acting on behalf of a relative or friend of the deceased Veteran.

VII.1.D.1.c. When a Certificate Is Not Authorized

Certificates are not authorized in the following cases:
  • presumed death of a Veteran
  • the Veteran is missing
  • private organizations wishing to honor deceased members by displaying Certificates
  • when there is any question concerning the type of discharge the Veteran received from the Armed Forces
  • when a Veteran has been convicted of a Federal capital crime and sentenced to death or life imprisonment
  • when a Veteran has been convicted of a State capital crime and sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole
  • when a Veteran has committed a Federal or State capital crime, but has not been convicted by reason of being unavailable for trial due to death or flight to avoid prosecution, or
  • when a Veteran has been convicted of a Federal or State crime causing the person to be a tier III sex offender for purposes of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, and for such crime, has been sentenced to a minimum of life imprisonment, and whose conviction is final.
Notes:
  • As it applies to processing a Certificate claim in Share, a written notice of conviction of capital crimes or sex crimes prior to approval of the Certificate request is not required.  In cases of conviction of capital crimes or sex crimes, the prohibitions do not apply unless written notice of conviction is received before approval of the application for a Certificate. The notice is furnished by the Attorney General in the case of a Federal crime, and by the appropriate State official in the case of a State crime.
  • In cases where the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) employee has a reasonable knowledge of, or suspects the decedent’s potential involvement in a capital crime or sex crime (news article, high profile notice, TV or Radio report), the Certificate request must not be processed until verification or validation for eligibility is established.
References:  For more information on
  • prohibitions based on capital or State crimes, see 38 U.S.C. 2411, and
  • the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, see 42 U.S.C. 16901.

VII.1.D.1.d.Multiple Periods of Service and Characters of Discharge

If there were two or more separate periods of service, with at least one discharge under honorable conditions or general under honorable, issue a Certificate.

VII.1.D.1.e.Verification of the Veteran’s Service for Certificates

Before issuing a Certificate, verify the Veteran’s service through
  • the Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS), or
  • other evidence of qualifying service, such as an original or certified copy of the Veteran’s DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
Important:  Do not develop a Veteran’s service solely to determine eligibility for a Certificate.
References:  For more information on

VII.1.D.1.f.  Using the CERTIFICATE Screen

Use the PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATE screen in Share when issuing a Certificate.
There are three methods for accessing the PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATE screen.  They are
  • during claims establishment
  • during first notice of death (FNOD) processing, or
  • by using the PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATE command.
Reference:  For more information on Share, see the Share User Guide.

VII.1.D.1.g.  Ensuring Accuracy on the Certificate

VA personnel must input the Veteran’s name and recipient address information correctly.
Use the guidelines listed below to verify that the information on the Certificate is accurate.
  • When entering the Veteran’s name, it is extremely important to use proper spelling, punctuation, and letter case.
  • If the Veteran’s name is not displayed correctly, it can be corrected by typing the true name in the fields provided in the upper right section of the PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATE screen.
  • Entries should be in upper and lower case, as appropriate. Never use all capital letters when entering information in the VETERAN NAME field.
  • Use a comma between the Veteran’s name and “Jr.” or “Sr.”
  • Do not use a comma between the Veteran’s name and “II,” “III,” “IV,” and so on.
  • Check that the title and recipient name and the full delivery address is entered (street number and name, or U.S. Post Office Box number, city, state, and zip code) of the person who is to receive the Certificate is accurate; otherwise, the Certificate may not reach the intended recipient.
  • Write out the complete address, including the name of the country, when sending a Certificate to a foreign address. In the five-position zip code field, enter “FZ,” plus the appropriate three-position country code.

VII.1.D.1.h.  Issuing Certificates

Only complete the PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATE screen once when a date of death is entered during claims establishment or FNOD processing to avoid sending more than one certificate.
Use the table below to issue Certificates and to avoid accidentally issuing multiple Certificates.
If…
Then…
the Veteran had a running award at the time of death
  • assume that a Certificate has not already been issued, and
  • issue the Certificate.
  • the date of death is not in BIRLS, and
  • service is verified in BIRLS
  • assume that a Certificate has not been issued, and
  • issue the Certificate.
  • the date of death is not in BIRLS, and
  • service is not verified in BIRLS
  • assume that a Certificate has not been issued, and
  • if evidence is available to verify service, issue the Certificate.
  • If evidence is not available to verify service, forward the request to National Cemetery Administration (NCA) at
Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903
Or fax requests to NCA at 1-800-455-7143.
  • the date of death is in BIRLS, and
  • service is not verified in BIRLS
  • assume that a Certificate has not already been issued, and
  • issue the Certificate if
    • evidence is available to verify service, and
    • no more than 12 months have elapsed since the date of the Veteran’s death.
  • the date of death is in BIRLS, and
  • service is verified in BIRLS
  • assume that a Certificate has not already been issued, and
  • issue the Certificate.
Reference:  For more information on issuing multiple Certificates, see M21-1, Part VII,1.D.1.k.

VII.1.D.1.i.  Annotating Certificate Mail

Annotate the date and initial Certificate mail whenever a
  • Certificate is issued, or
  • FNOD is processed and a Certificate is not issued.
Note:  If notice of death (NOD) mail is located in an electronic claims folder (eFolder), then make an electronic annotation in the appropriate system.
Annotation Examples:
  • Presidential Memorial Certificate issued 10/23/15, NEF.
  • Presidential Memorial Certificate not issued 10/14/16, CLP.
  • Presidential Memorial Certificate request sent to NCA 10/15/15, REJ.
Reference:  For information on VBMS annotations, see VBMS Resources – Job Aids.

VII.1.D.1.j.  Veteran’s Service Cannot Be Verified for Certificates

In some situations, issuing a Certificate is not possible because the Veteran’s service is not verified.
Follow the instructions in the table below when service cannot be verified.
If service is not verified in BIRLS and…
Then…
  • an eFolder exists, claims or NOD folder is located at the RO processing the NOD mail, and
  • the Veteran did not have a running award at the time of death
  • check the eFolder, claims or NOD folder to see
  • if eligible service is verified in BIRLS, and
    • the death occurred within the last 12 calendar months, then
    • issue a Certicate.
the Veteran had a running award at the time of death,
issue a Certificate.

VII.1.D.1.k.  Requests for Multiple Certificates

If more than one Certificate is requested at the same time, issue one Certificate and send the claimant a VA Form 40-0247, Presidential Memorial Certificate Request Form to request the additional Certificates.

VII.1.D.1.l.  Handling Certificate Requests When Character of Discharge Is Less Than General Under Honorable

In some cases, an applicant may request a Certificate for a Veteran who was discharged under other than honorable conditions.  Advise the applicant that there is no eligibility for the memorial certificate.
Do not
  • furnish notice of procedural and appellate rights, or
  • make a character of discharge determination solely to determine eligibility for the Certicate.
Note:  If there were two or more separate periods of service, with at least one discharge under honorable conditions or general under honorable, issue a Certificate.

VII.1.D.1.m.  Printing Certificates

Certificates are printed at VA Central Office (VACO) (403C) based on information furnished in the PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATE screen.

 

 2.  Burial Flags


Introduction


Change Date

May 22, 2017

VII.1.D.2.a.   Veterans Eligible for a Burial Flag

Generally, VA will furnish a burial flag for Veteran with an other than dishonorable discharge.  This includes Veterans who
  • served during wartime
  • died on active duty after May 27, 1941
  • served after January 31, 1955, or
  • was a peacetime Veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950.
VA will also furnish a burial flag to memorialize
  • Veterans who served in the Philippine military forces while such forces were in the service of the U.S. armed forces under the President’s Order of July 26, 1941 and died on or after April 25, 1951,
  • Veterans who served in the Philippine military services are eligible for burial in a national cemetery
  • Veterans who were entitled to retired pay for service in the reserves, or would have been entitled to such pay but not for being under 60 years of age, or
  • members or former members of the Selected Reserve (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Naval Reserve; Air National Guard; or Army National Guard) who served at least one enlistment or, in the case of an officer, the period of initial obligation, or were discharged for disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty, or died while a member of the Selected Reserve.
Reference:  For more information on eligibility for burial flags see 38 CFR 1.10.

VII.1.D.2.b.  Veterans Who Are Not Eligible for a Burial Flag

After September 1, 1959, an individual convicted of any of a list of specified offenses involving subversive activities forfeits the rights to any VA gratuitous benefits.  Additional offenses involving subversive activities were added for claims filed after December 16, 2003.
For deaths that occurred on or after December 6, 2002, under Public Law (PL) 107-330, VA will not furnish a burial flag for memorialization of
  • a person who has been convicted of a Federal capital crime and sentenced to death or life imprisonment
  • a person who has been convicted of a State capital crime and sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole, or
  • a person who has committed a Federal or State capital crime but has not been convicted of such crime by reason of being unavailable for trial due to death or flight to avoid prosecution.
For burials on or after January 10, 2013, under PL 112-260, VA will not
furnish a burial flag for interment or memorialization of a person who has been convicted of a Federal or State crime causing the person to be
  • a tier III sex offender for purposes of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act
  • has been sentenced to a minimum of life imprisonment for the crime, and
  • whose conviction is final.
Note:  In cases of conviction for capital crimes, the prohibitions do not apply unless written notice of conviction is received prior to the approval of an application for a burial flag.  Such notice shall be furnished by the Attorney General, in the case of a Federal capital crime, and by the appropriate State official in the case of a State capital crime.
References:  For more information on

VII.1.D.2.c.  Required Application for a Burial Flag

Burial flags may be issued upon receipt of a properly completed VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes.

VII.1.D.2.d.  Who May Receive a Burial Flag

A burial flag may be issued to the next-of-kin, close friend or associate of the deceased Veteran.
Important:  VA will not issue a flag if the close friend or associate is also entitled to receive a burial flag from the service department.

VII.1.D.2.e.  Obtaining a Burial Flag

Applicants seeking a burial flag are be required to submit a completed VA Form 27-2008, and attach a copy of DD Form 214, or other documentation that contains acceptable evidence of the eligibility of the deceased Veteran whenever possible.
Notes:
  • Issuing a flag may not be delayed or refused because appropriate documentation is not available at the time of request.
  • When flag eligibility is in doubt, the nearest VA regional office (RO) may be contacted for assistance in clarifying the deceased Veteran’s status; however, due to time sensitivity, a properly completed VA Form 27-2008verifying eligibility will be accepted.
  • A flag may be issued subsequent to interment when circumstances prevent securing one to drape the casket.  There is no time limit for request of a flag.
  • Only one flag may be issued for each deceased Veteran.

VII.1.D.2.f.    Issuing a Burial Flag to Next-of-Kin

When a flag is actually used to drape the casket of a deceased Veteran, it must be delivered to the next-of-kin following interment.
The term next-of-kin for the purpose of issuing a burial flag includes the following person(s) in the order of preference listed:
  • surviving spouse
  • children, in order of age
  • parents
  • brothers or sisters
  • uncles or aunts
  • nephews or nieces, and
  • others, such as cousins or grandparents.

VII.1.D.2.g.  Issuing a Burial Flag to Close Friend or Associate

When the flag is not claimed by the next-of-kin, it may be given, upon request, to a close friend or associate of the deceased Veteran.

VII.1.D.2.h.  When MoreThan One Claim for a Burial Flag Is Received

When more than one request for the burial flag is received, and each is accompanied by satisfactory evidence of relationship or association, the head of the VA field facility having jurisdiction over the burial flag quota will determine which applicant is the one most equitably entitled to the burial flag.

VII.1.D.2.i.  Who May Issue a Burial Flag

The following facilities may issue burial flags:
  • VA regional offices (ROs)
  • other VA installations
  • U.S. Post Offices
  • hospitals and sanitariums under contract with VA, or
  • Federally-aided State Veterans’ homes, or
Request burial flags from NCA at following address:
Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA  22134-3903
Or fax requests to NCA at 1-800-455-7143.
Note:  These facilities are referred to as issue points.

VII.1.D.2.j.  Initial Process for Burial Flag Issuing Offices

Veterans Service Centers (VSCs) and U.S. Post Offices will accept a VA Form 27-2008, ensuring all appropriate information is completed, and issue one flag per Veteran.  Under no circumstances should flags be issued without a properly completed form.
Forms processed by a U.S. Post Office must be mailed to the appropriate ROwithin three days of receipt to ensure timely notification of death to the VA.
VSCs and U.S. Post Offices should ensure that a legible address is entered into the ADDRESS OF POST OFFICE OR OTHER FLAG ISSUE POINT box  to ensure a replenishment flag can be issued.
Notes:
  • All issuing offices are initially supplied with an operating inventory of flags based upon demand and other local conditions.
  • PMCs do not issue burial flags.

VII.1.D.2.k.  VSC Responsibilities Upon Receipt of VA Form 27-2008 From a Burial Flag Issuing Office

VSCs should follow the steps below when they receive a VA Form 27-2008 from a flag issuing office.
Step
Action
1
Flag issuing offices forward a completed VA Form 27-2008 to the VSC servicing the issue point.
2
The Veterans Service Cener Manger (VSCM) or delegate will ensure that the information on the VA Form 27-2008 is completed properly.
3
The VSCM or delegate should process an FNOD action and ensure theBurial Flag Issued indicator is selected on the BIRLS INACTIVE COMP AND PENSION screen.
Reference:  For more information on FNOD processing, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 8.AF.
4
The top portion of the completed VA Form 27-2008 should be forwarded to the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) at:
Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903
5
The VSC POC forwards the lower portion of completed applications on a daily basis to the VAMC Distribution Center having primary responsibility for replenishing the stock of burial flags at the U.S. Post Offices.
Note:  VSCs can find complete guidance and VAMC Distribution Center addresses at the SDC website, or by sending an e-mail message to Flags.Interment@va.gov, or in an emergency by calling (708) 786-7758 or 7509.
Important:
  • Issuing a flag may not be delayed or refused because additional attached documentation, such as discharge certificate or DD Form 214 is not available at the time of request, as long as the requestor signs the application certifying eligibility.
  • PMCs do not process VA Form 27-2008 applications.
Reference:  For more information on replenishing burial flags, see M21-1, Part VII, 1.D.2.m.

VII.1.D.2.l.  Availability of Burial Flags

All VA offices must maintain a sufficient supply of flags.  Flags stocked for these purposes must not be displayed in public contact areas.
Each issue point is responsible for maintaining its stock of flags.
Note:  VSCMs should periodically survey U.S. Post Offices within their jurisdiction to ensure that adequate supplies of flags and applications are available.

VII.1.D.2.m.  Replenishing Burial Flags

All offices issuing flags (i.e. U.S. Post Offices, VA medical centers (VAMCs) and national cemeteries), should have an assigned VSC and point of contact (POC) at that facility for requesting replenishment of flags.

An initial supply of flags for new issuing offices should be obtained by requesting an initial stock from the VA Service and Distribution Center (SDC) who will supply the flags and assign the new post office to the appropriate RO for future replenishment support.
The SDC will forward a copy of the assignment letter to the VSC with initial POC information.  For initial stock or in the event of a problem with the replenishment process, the SDC Operations Division, Hines, IL, may be contacted for assistance by sending an e-mail message to Flags.Interment@va.gov, or in an emergency calling (708) 786-7758 or 7509.
When placing replenishment orders for flags, issuing offices should provide their servicing VSC with all the completed VA Form 27-2008s they have collected.
Notes:
  • U.S. Post Offices and VSCs may view the most current list of POCs at theSDC website.
  • U.S. Post Offices currently being replenished directly by the VA Service and Distribution Center in Hines, IL, will continue to do so by submittingVA Forms 27-2008 and accompanying documentation to the SDC.

VII.1.D.2.n.  Donation of Burial Flags to VA National Cemeteries

Families may donate U.S. flags received upon the death of a Veteran for use on national holidays at VA national cemeteries.  Upon inquiry, inform the families that donated flags should be
  • given or mailed to the director of any national cemetery selected by the donor, and
  • accompanied by a written request that the flag be flown in that cemetery.
If the next-of-kin brings a flag to an VSC
  • accept it along with a written statement, and
  • forward it to the cemetery chosen by the donor.

 3.  Burial Headstones and Markers


Introduction

This topic contains information on issuing burial headstones and markers, including


Change Date

March 17, 2017

VII.1.D.3.a.  Who Is Eligible for a Government Headstone or Marker

Except for those listed in M21-1, Part VII, 1.D.3.b, VA will furnish a government headstone or marker for a Veteran who
  • is buried in a national, State-owned, or post cemetery, or
  • is eligible for burial in a national cemetery but not buried there, provided the Veteran
    • meets the length of service requirements as established by PL 96-342
    • died while on active military, naval, or air service
    • was a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps of the Army, Navy, or Air Force, whose death occurred while attending or on authorized travel to a training camp or practice cruise, or while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the expense of the U.S. for injury or disease incurred during an authorized training camp or practice cruise
    • was a member of the Reserve component of the Armed Forces or the Army National Guard, whose death occurred while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the expense of the U.S. for injury or disease contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while performing active duty for training or inactive duty training
    • was a member of specifically designated groups recognized as Veterans as a result of 1977 legislation allowing the Department of Defense to grant military discharges for certain wartime service previously considered civilian, or
    • was a soldier of the Union and Confederate Armies of the Civil War.

VII.1.D.3.b.  Who Is Not Eligible for a Government Headstone or Marker

Any individual convicted after September 1, 1959, of any of a list of offenses involving subversive activities will forfeit the right to VA gratuitous benefits.  PL 108-183, effective for claims filed after December 16, 2003, further expanded the list of offenses.
For death on or after December 6, 2002, under PL 107-330, eligibility is precluded for anyone
  • convicted of a Federal capital crime for which that person was sentenced to death or life imprisonment
  • convicted of a State capital crime for which that person was sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole
  • found to have committed a Federal or State capital crime but has not been convicted by reason of being unavailable for trial due to death or flight to avoid prosecution
  • convicted of a Federal or State crime causing the person to be a tier III sex offender for purposes of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, and for such crime
    • sentenced to a minimum of life imprisonment, and
    • whose conviction is final (other than a person whose sentence was commuted by the President or Governor of a State, as the case may be).
Note:  In cases of conviction, the prohibitions do not apply unless written notice of conviction is received prior to approval of the application for government headstone or marker.  Such notice shall be furnished by the Attorney General, in cases of Federal capital crimes, and the appropriate State official in cases of State capital crimes.
Reference:  For more information on offenses involving subversive activities, see38 CFR 3.903.

VII.1.D.3.c.  Government Headstone or Marker for Deaths Before November 1, 1990

For Veterans’ deaths occurring before November 1, 1990, government headstones or markers are furnished for  unmarked graves only.

VII.1.D.3.d.  Government Headstone or Marker for Deaths on or After November 1, 1990

Under PL 110-157, which amends PL 107-330, government headstones or markers may also be furnished if the Veteran died on or after November 1, 1990, regardless of whether the grave is already marked with a headstone or marker purchased at private expense.

VII.1.D.3.e.  Furnishing a Memorial Headstone or Marker When There Is No Grave

A memorial headstone or marker, if requested, is furnished for placement by the applicant in any national, private or local cemetery to commemorate any Veteran whose remains
  • have not been recovered or identified, or
  • were
    • buried at sea
    • donated to medical science, or
  • cremated and the remains scattered.

VII.1.D.3.f.  Costs Associated with Transportation and Placement of a Government Headstone or Marker

The government prepays shipping charges to the extent indicated on VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker.
The government does not cover the following costs:
  • transportation of the headstone from the consignee’s address to the private cemetery, or
  • erection of the headstone at the grave.

VII.1.D.3.g.  Required Application for a Government Headstone or Marker

A claim for a standard government headstone or marker for installation in a private or local cemetery is made on VA Form 40-1330.
Note:  If a VA marker is issued and later the family purchases a headstone, NCA will send the family a letter requesting the marker be returned.

VII.1.D.3.h.  Address for Referral of Requests for a Government Headstone or Marker

Refer requests for a government headstone or marker to NCA at the following address:
Memorial Programs Service (41B)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA  22134-3903
Or fax requests to NCA at 1-800-455-7143.

VII.1.D.3.i.  Eligibility Requirements for Reimbursement of Non-Government Headstones and Markers

Between October 18, 1978 and October 31, 1990, VA reimbursed individuals for privately purchased headstones and markers.  Section 8041 of PL 101-508repealed the statute, effective November 1, 1990, to preclude such reimbursements.
To be eligible for reimbursement of a non-government headstone or marker, a Veteran must have
  • been buried on or after October 18, 1978
  • died prior to November 1, 1990, and
  • been otherwise entitled to a government headstone or marker.
Exception:  Veterans buried in a State-owned Veterans or post cemetery or soldiers of the Union or Confederate Armies are not eligible.
Notes:
  • Award reimbursement for a non-government headstone or marker can be made for a Veteran who died before his/her service was recognized underPL 95-202, if he or she meets the eligibility requirements listed above.
  • The deceased’s grave or memorial site must not have been previously marked for the deceased.
  • The headstone or marker must have been privately purchased for placement in a non-national cemetery.
  • The rate of reimbursement is the rate that was effective at the time the non-government headstone or marker was purchased.
References:  For more information on
  • the amount payable  for non-Government headstones and markers, see M21-1, Part VII, 1.D.3.n,
  • the enactment of headstone and marker reimbursement, see PL 95-476,
  • the repeal of headstone and marker reimbursement, see PL 101-508, and
  • Veterans who died before their service was recognized, see

VII.1.D.3.j.  Required Application for Headstone Reimbursement

A claim for reimbursement for a non-government headstone or marker is made onVA Form 21P-8834Application for Reimbursement of Headstone or Marker Expenses.

VII.1.D.3.k.  Eligible Claimants for Non-Government Headstones

Any person, including the executor, administrator, or a person representing the deceased’s estate, who purchased the headstone or marker or who paid for the additional engraving on an existing headstone or marker may file a claim.

VII.1.D.3.l.  Required Evidence for Reimbursement or Marker Expenses

Before award action can be taken, a receipted bill is required showing
  • the name of the deceased Veteran for whom the headstone, marker, or additional engraving was purchased,
  • a description of the nature and cost of the merchandise or services
  • the name of the persons who made payment, and
  • the amount of any unpaid balance.
Important:
  • Do not accept an affidavit or other statement by the claimant purporting to show payment in lieu of a receipted bill.
  • Retain all evidence received in connection with the claim and do notreturn receipts submitted in support of it.

VII.1.D.3.m.  Time Limit for Headstone Reimbursement

There is no time limit for applying for reimbursement for a non-Government headstone or marker.

VII.1.D.3.n.  Amount Payable for Non-Government Markers

The amount of reimbursement will be the lesser of the
  • actual cost of the non-government headstone, marker, or additional engraving, or
  • amount determined by NCA to be in effect at the time of purchase.
Entitlement to both a government headstone and reimbursement for a non-government headstone does  not exist.
Note:  This determination is made at the end of each fiscal year and is based on the average cost of government-procured headstones and markers during that period.

VII.1.D.3.o.  Priority of Payment

The first claim for reimbursement accompanied by a receipted bill will take precedence over any other claim for reimbursement.

VII.1.D.3.p.  Reimbursement for Prepaid Headstones or Markers

Use the table below to determine reimbursement for prepaid headstones or markers.
If the headstone or marker was purchased before the Veteran’s death and …
Then…
burial occurred beforeDecember 18, 1989
limit the payment to reimbursement of the expense of engraving added to the headstone subsequent to the Veteran’s death.
Note:  There is no entitlement to reimbursement for the cost of the headstone in such cases.
burial occurred on or afterDecember 18, 1989
pay the monetary allowance for acquiring a non-government headstone or marker to the estate of the deceased Veteran.
Note:  The allowance is not payable if the
  • Veteran died after October 31, 1990, or
  • the headstone or marker was purchased prior to October 18, 1978, the date the law providing payment for a headstone or marker was enacted.
Reference:  For more information on making a payment to the deceased Veteran’s estate, see M21-1, Part VII, 1.C.2.a.

VII.1.D.3.q.   Reimbursement When No Administrator or Executor Exists

If there is no administrator or executor, make payment to a claimant who
  • signs a statement attesting to this fact, and
  • indicates that he/she will distribute the payment under the laws of the State of the decedent’s domicile.
Note:  The procedures for identifying unpaid creditors do not apply to reimbursement for headstone or marker expenses.
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