The VA does not provide any benefits to pay for cremation or an urn. The VA does provide a final resting place for the cremated remains of veterans and their qualifying family members.
All members of the armed forces and veterans who have met minimum active duty requirements, as applicable, and did not receive a dishonorable discharge are eligible to have cremated remains placed at a VA Cemetery, either buried in the ground, or placed above ground in a Columbarium. A columbarium is an above-ground wall of niches designed to hold cremated remains.
A veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities, may also be eligible to have their cremated remains placed with the veteran.
Spouses and dependent family members may be buried in the same plot regardless of date of death.
VA Cemeteries closest to Elgin include:
- Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, IL
- Fort Sheridan National Cemetery, Fort Sheridan, IL*
*At this time only accepting burial of cremated remains or full-body burial for spouses already buried there.
- Rock Island Confederate Cemetery, Rock Island, IL
Formal Funeral Services are not held at VA Cemeteries, but a final committal service can be performed at the cemetery. At Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, the committal service is held at a shelter, not at the Columbarium.
For burials of cremated remains, the VA will provide — at no cost to the veteran’s family — a gravesite, headstone or marker, opening and closing the grave, and perpetual care of the gravesite.
For placement of cremated remains in a columbarium, the VA will provide — at no cost to the veteran’s family — a niche, a bronze niche marker, opening and closing the niche, and perpetual care of the columbarium and surrounding grounds.
The VA will also provide a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a U.S. Flag to the veteran’s survivors.
Please be aware that no federal funding is available for purchasing gravesites, niches, opening and closing, or the installation of private headstones or private niche plates at private cemeteries.
The VA will provide a standard veteran headstone or marker in a private cemetery, but the setting fees will be at the veteran’s expense.
If the veteran chooses burial of cremated remains in a private cemetery with a private headstone, the Department of Veteran Affairs will provide a medallion to identify veteran status at no cost to the family.