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From Chuck Weber, your Veteran Service Officer...

Vet Burial Plans

How to Obtain a Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility


You can apply to find out in advance if you can be buried in a VA national cemetery. This is called a pre-need determination of eligibility—and it can help make the burial planning process easier for your family members in their time of need. Follow the steps below to apply.


Step 1:  Find out if you’re eligible. One of these must describe you:

        A Veteran who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge when you separated from the military, or

        The spouse or dependent child of a service member or Veteran, even if the service member or Veteran has already passed away, or

        In some cases, the adult dependent child of a service member or Veteran (if you aren’t married)

VA bases their decision of whether or not you qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery on your service history—or the service history of the Veteran or service member who’s sponsoring your application for burial as a spouse, surviving spouse, or unmarried adult child. To get more details about eligibility refer to https://www.va.gov/burials-memorials/eligibility


Step 2:  Choose the VA national cemetery where you’d prefer to be buried.

To find a VA National cemetery go to https://www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/index.asp.  Note that this application is only for VA national cemeteries. If you’d like to be buried in a state or tribal Veterans cemetery, contact that specific cemetery ahead of time to find out about their pre-need program. You can apply for a pre-need determination of eligibility from VA and also from a state or tribal Veterans cemetery.   Getting a pre-need determination of eligibility doesn’t guarantee you’ll be buried in a specific VA national cemetery. VA does not take reservations at any VA national cemetery. However, they ask where you prefer to be buried so they can try to help fulfill your final wishes.

To find a state Veterans cemetery go to https://www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/index.asp.  Some state Veterans cemeteries require that you live in that state or have other rules around eligibility. This application doesn’t apply to Arlington National Cemetery or the United States Soldiers and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. If you’d like to be buried in either of these Department of the Army cemeteries, call 877-907-8585 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET.


Step 3:  Gather the supporting documents and information you’ll need to fill out the application.

See the list below. If you don’t have everything on the list, you can still apply and VA will help by finding the supporting documents needed. Just keep in mind that the more information you can give when you apply, the faster your application can be reviewed and you can be given a decision. VA will contact you they need you to provide additional information.


Step 4:  Be sure to fill out an application for each person requesting a pre-need eligibility determination. If both you and your spouse are applying, you’ll each need to fill out your own application.


Information needed to apply.

To apply, you’ll need your (or your sponsor’s):

        Social Security number

        Date and place of birth

        Military status and service history (like service dates, discharge character, and rank—commonly found on the DD214 or other separation documents)

        Discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents)

Note: If you don’t have discharge papers, find out how to request the DD214 at https://www.va.gov/records/get-military-service-records. If you’re applying as a spouse, surviving spouse, or unmarried adult child, you’ll also need your personal information, including your Social Security number. If you’re applying on behalf of someone else, you’ll also need supporting documents showing you have the authority to apply for that person. You’ll need to fill out one of these forms:

        Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Claimant’s Representative (VA Form 21-22) available at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-22-ARE.pdf; or VA Form 21-22 (PDF) available at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-22A-ARE.pdf

      If you’re applying for an unmarried adult child of a Veteran or service member, you’ll also need to provide supporting documents with information about the child’s disability. The Veteran or guardian of the child should also ask the child’s current doctor to verify the documents. These documents should include all of the following information:

        The date of the disability's onset, and

        A description of the disability, mental or physical, and

        A description of how dependent the disabled child is on the Veteran, and

        The marital status of the child

How to Apply

       Online at https://www.va.gov/burials-and-memorials/pre-need/form-10007-apply-for-eligibility .


o   Fill out an Application for Pre-need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery VA Form 40-10007.  Download at https://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-10007.pdf.

o   The person applying for a pre-need determination must sign the form. If that person is under 18 years old, mentally unable to make decisions for themselves (sometimes called mentally incompetent), or physically unable to sign the form, a spouse, parent, or court-appointed representative may sign the form.

o   If you’re signing the form on behalf of someone else, you’ll need to select box 33B on the form and provide your name, address, phone number, and email address in blocks 34 through 37. Tou will also need to provide supporting documents that show why the person applying can’t sign and that show your relationship to the person applying


        Send your completed application (with copies of your supporting documents) to: National Cemetery Scheduling Office, PO Box 510543, St. Louis, MO 63151.  Do not send the originals of your DD214 and other supporting documents since they can’t return them. Send copies only.


     If you need help filling out your application call VA’s toll-free hotline at 877-222-8387 M-F, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.  You can also get help from a trained professional trusted to help with VA-related claims, like an accredited representative or Veterans Service Officer (VSO). Find a representative at https://www.benefits.va.gov/vso/varo.asp or find your state’s Veterans agency at https://www.va.gov/statedva.htm.   Note that these services are free. No one should ever ask you to pay them to help you fill out VA Form 40-10007 or file your request. You can find out what happens after you apply for a pre-need eligibility determination at https://www.va.gov/burials-memorials/pre-need-eligibility/after-you-apply.   Note that a large number of pre-need eligibility applications have been received and it’s slowing down the approval process. VA will let you know when they’ve received your application and how long they think it’ll take to make a decision. For more information, you can call 877-222-8387. You are requested to wait to hear back about your application rather than applying again. 


Source:  https://www.va.gov/burials-memorials/pre-need-eligibility | September 26, 2020

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