Q. How much does it cost and what is included?
A. There is no charge for burial of veterans. The burial benefit includes the grave plot, the opening and closing of the grave, a concrete grave liner for casketed burials, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care of the grave. The funeral home will obtain a burial flag to accompany the veteran’s casket or urn. Upon request, the funeral home will also arrange for military honors for the veteran. The cemetery representative or state cemetery program director can provide information on current charges for spouses and dependent children. The benefit does not cover funeral home charges such as the cost of a casket, cremation, viewing, flower cars, or transportation of the remains and family. However, if the veteran dies of a service connected cause of death, the family may be eligible for reimbursement from the VA for some of the funeral home costs up to $2,000.
Q. What is the procedure?
A. Normally, all arrangements are made through a funeral home. The person handling the funeral arrangements should take a copy of the military discharge form (DD Form 214) or other military service documents to prove eligibility to the funeral home. The funeral home will contact the cemetery of choice to verify eligibility and make all of the arrangements for the burial service. If you are making arrangements for interment of a spouse, you will also need to provide the funeral home a copy of the marriage certificate.
Q. How can I reserve a grave space or burial plot?
A. You may not reserve a grave space. Veterans, spouses, and dependent children are interred in the next available grave space for the type requested (casketed space, cremation space in a columbarium wall niche, or cremation space for in-ground burial). In most cases the veteran and all family members will be interred in the same grave space. However, you may pre-register with the cemetery.
Q. How do I pre-register?
A. Although you cannot reserve a burial space, you can pre-register at a cemetery. Complete a Pre-Registration Form, attaching a copy of the military discharge form (DD Form 214) (and if appropriate a copy of a marriage certificate) and send these documents to the Texas State Veterans Cemetery of choice. The cemetery will verify your eligibility, inform you accordingly, and maintain a copy of these documents on hand so that the next of kin does not have to find them at the time of need.
Q. What proof of eligibility will I need to pre-register?
A. You will need a copy of your DD214 or other discharge form.
Q. What is a Texas State Veterans Cemetery (TSVC)?
A. The State of Texas owns, and the Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) operates, the cemeteries under VA guidelines - to provide dignified burial places for eligible veterans and their family members. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the state of Texas cooperate to build the cemeteries under the State Veterans Cemetery Grant Program. A TSVC serves veterans in areas of Texas not currently covered by a VA National Veterans Cemetery.
Q. What’s the difference between a National Cemetery and a Texas State Veterans Cemetery?
A. The VA pays for the operation of most National Cemeteries while the states pay for operation of State Veterans Cemeteries. National Cemeteries and Texas State Veterans Cemeteries are operated under the same eligibility rules and apply the same cemetery maintenance standards. The only difference is that the state of Texas charges for interment of spouses and dependents, while in the National Cemeteries there is no charge for interment of spouses and dependents.
Q. Where are the TSVCs located?
A. They are currently in operation in the cities of Abilene, Corpus Christi, Killeen, and Mission.
Q. Where are the VA national cemeteries in Texas?
A. National cemeteries are located at Fort Bliss in El Paso, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Houston and Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Q. May a TSVC be built within 75 miles of an existing TSVC or national cemetery?
A. Generally not. State cemeteries are designed to serve the veterans living within 75 miles of the cemetery site. Therefore, the VA deems veterans living within 75 miles of an existing state or national cemetery as already being served.
Q. Will I lose any of my VA burial benefits if I choose to be buried at a TSVC?
A. No. All of the burial benefits you are entitled to as an eligible veteran, such as a burial flag, grave marker, Presidential Memorial Certificate, or military honors, may be used at the TSVC.
Q. Will the Texas State Veterans Cemetery provide military honors at TSVC funerals?
A. At the request of families, funeral homes will coordinate with the Department of Defense or Veteran Service Organizations for military honors at all veterans' burials. If you are not using a funeral home, contact the cemetery for assistance in acquiring military honors.
Q. If I served in the National Guard or Reserves, am I eligible to be buried in a TSVC?
A. The rules for eligibility for burial in the TSVC are the same as for national cemeteries. Overall eligibility for burial in a veterans cemetery (national or state) is determined by a VA regulation based on a variety of qualifying criteria, many of which may apply to your periods of service on active duty or while in the Guard or Reserves. To ascertain your eligibility, please review the regulations on the VA Web site, or ask the Texas Veterans Commission or your Veterans Service Officer benefit counselor to assist you in applying for VA burial benefits.
Q. I am a veteran. Can my spouse or children be buried at a TSVC?
A. The spouse, surviving spouse, and dependent children of an eligible veteran are also eligible under current VA regulations.
Q. I don't have my military discharge papers to determine if my period of service was sufficient to qualify for burial benefits. How can I get a copy?
A. Please refer to How to Request Military Service Records or Prove Military Service from the National Archives site or you can contact the VLB and ask that a "Request Pertaining to Military Records" form be mailed to you.