VA burial benefits available at no cost to the veteran's family include a gravesite in any of 125 national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Presidential Memorial Certificate, a burial flag, and a government headstone or marker. Some veterans may also be eligible for burial allowances. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains. There are two
VA-operated national cemeteries in Massachusetts: the Massachusetts National Cemetery and the Woodlawn Cemetery Soldiers' Lot.
For more information, or to find a VA cemetery outside of Massachusetts, you can also contact the VA's National Cemetery Administration at 1-800-827-1000.
Massachusetts Veterans' Cemeteries
There are also two veterans' cemeteries, in Agawam and in Winchendon, that are operated by the Commonwealth and funded in part through VA grants. Eligible veterans can be buried in these facilities at no cost. For information on eligibility, visit the Contact Information and Eligibility page of the Department of Veterans' Services website.
A small fee is required for burial of spouses or children of eligible veterans.
For more information, visit the State Veterans' Cemeteries page of the Department of Veterans' Services website, or contact the Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Agawam at (413) 821-9500, or Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon at (978) 297-9501.
Markers or Headstones in Private Cemeteries
The VA will provide markers or headstones for eligible veterans buried in private cemeteries at no cost to the veteran or his or her family. The VA is also currently developing a special emblem that can be affixed to a privately purchased headstone which will indicate the grave belongs to a veteran. Veterans buried in private facilities on or after November 1, 1990, have the option of having the grave marked with a second stone or marker provided by the government, or having the emblem affixed to an existing stone purchased privately. 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. To find out if you or a family member is eligible, visit the Veterans Affairs website.
When burial or memorialization is in a national, post or state veterans' cemetery, a headstone or marker will be ordered by the cemetery officials based on inscription information provided by the next of kin. The Veterans' Affairs website also provides instructions for ordering a headstone or marker.
NOTE: Veterans buried in private cemeteries may be charged a fee by the cemetery for placing the marker at the veterans' grave. The VA does not cover these fees.
For more information, visit the Headstones and Markers section of their website, or call 1-800-697-6947.
Military Honors at Funerals
Some family members like to have a military honor guard at the funeral of a veteran. The Department of Defense (DOD) "Honoring Those Who Served" program provides dignified military funeral honors to veterans who have defended our nation. For more information on this program, visit the DOD Honoring Those Who Served website. To arrange military funeral honors, contact your local funeral home.