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VETERANS' CORNER: Determination of burial in VA cemeteries explained

on August 03, 2014 1:49 AM

EDITOR’S NOTE: Veterans’ Corner, a column to inform armed-forces veterans about services and benefits available to them, appears the first Sunday of each month.

The National Cemetery Scheduling Office has the primary responsibility for verifying eligibility for burial in VA national cemeteries. A determination of eligibility is made in response to a request for burial in a VA national cemetery.

VETERANS AND MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES

(Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard)

1. Any member of the Armed Forces of the U.S. who dies on active duty.

2. Any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. With certain exceptions, service beginning after Sept. 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and service after Oct. 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 continuous months or the full period for which the person was called to active duty (as in the case of a Reservist called to active duty for a limited duration). Undesirable, bad conduct, and any other type of discharge other than honorable may or may not qualify the individual for veterans benefits, depending upon a determination made by a VA regional office. Cases presenting multiple discharges of varying character are also referred for adjudication to a VA regional office.

3. Any citizen of the U.S. who, during any war in which the U.S. has or may be engaged, served in the Armed Forces of any government allied with the U.S. during that war, whose last active service was terminated honorably by death or otherwise, and who was a citizen of the United States at the time of entry into such service and at the time of death.

RESERVE COMPONENTS

1. Reservists and National Guard members who, at time of death, were entitled to retired pay under Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code, or would have been entitled, but for being under the age of 60. Specific categories of individuals eligible fore retired pay are delineated in section 12731 of Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code.

2. Members of reserve components, and members of the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard, who die while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the expense of the United States for injury or disease contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while performing active duty for training or inactive duty training, or undergoing such hospitalization or treatment.

3. Members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps of the Army, Navy, or Air Force who die under honorable conditions while attending an authorized training camp or on an authorized training camp or on an authorized cruise, while performing authorized travel to or from that camp or cruise, or while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the expense of the United States for injury or disease contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while engaged in one of those activities.

4. Members of reserve components who, during a period of active duty for training, were disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty or, during a period of inactive duty training, were disabled or died from an injury or certain cardiovascular disorders incurred or aggravated in line of duty.

SPOUSES AND DEPENDENTS

1. The spouse, surviving spouse or dependent of an eligible veteran or member of the armed forces may be eligible for interment in a national cemetery even if that Veteran is not buried or memorialized in a national cemetery.

2. The surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who had a subsequent remarriage to a non-veteran and whose death occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2000, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery, based on his or her marriage to the eligible veteran.

3. The minor children of an eligible veteran. For purpose of burial in a national cemetery, a minor child is a child who is unmarried and who is under 21 years of age, or who is under 23 years of age and pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved educational institution.

4. The unmarried adult child of an eligible veteran. For purpose of burial in a national cemetery, an unmarried adult child is of any age but became permanently physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-support before reaching 21 years of age, or before reaching 23 years of age if pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved educational institution. Proper supporting documentation must be provided.

NOT ELIGIBLE

Former spouses: A former spouse of an eligible individual who marriage to that individual has been terminated by annulment or divorce, if not otherwise eligible.

Other family members: Family members of an eligible person except those defined an eligible.

Disqualifying characters of discharge: A person whose only separation from the armed forces was under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a bar to veterans benefits.

Discharge from draft: A person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service.

Found guilty of a capital crime: Interment or memorialization in a VA national cemetery is prohibited if a person is convicted of a federal or state capital crime, for which a sentence of imprisonment fore life or the death penalty may be imposed and the conviction is final.

Convicted of certain sex offenses: Interment or memorialization in a VA national cemetery is prohibited if a person is convicted of a Tier III sex offense, who was sentenced to a minimum or life imprisonment and whose conviction is final.

Subversive activities: Any person convicted of subversive activities after Sept. 1, 1959, shall have no right to burial in a national cemetery from and after the date of commission of such offence, based on periods of active military service commencing before the date of the commission of such offense, nor shall another person be entitled to burial on account of such an individual eligibility will be reinstated if the president of the United States grants a pardon.

Active or inactive duty for training: A person whose only service is active duty for training or inactive duty training in the National Guard or Reserve component, unless the individual meets the eligibility criteria.

This information is from the http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/burial_benefits/eligible.asp website.

For more information, call Brenda Stormer at the Veterans Affairs office, (724) 465-3815.

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