A new VA rule change will allow veterans to apply for burial in national cemeteries before their death, instead of leaving the responsibility to family members after their death. Veterans will now be approved for burial in a VA national cemetery “pre-need” before their death rather than at the “time of need” after their death.
The change was made in an effort to ease the grieving process for family members of deceased veterans and to allow ailing veterans to “put their affairs in order” before passing. Patrick Murray, an associate director for the VFW’s national legislative service, told reporters:
“We think it’s something that’s a no-nonsense, easy solution to ease the burden as people enter the later years of their lives.”
Lou Cell, the American Legion’s national director for veterans affairs and rehabilitation, shared Murray’s sentiment. Cell told reporters:
“A predetermination is the right thing to do. It allows the veteran and their family a small measure of comfort at a time when they can use any comfort they can get…The American Legion reviewed this policy when they were recommending these changes several months ago and assured the VA they had the American Legion’s full support.”
Veterans can be approved for “pre-need” by submitting a form via fax, mail, or e-mail. The form can be completed and submitted by the veteran themselves or by someone on their behalf in the event they cannot complete the document. Veterans will not be able to select a specific grave site. They will be qualified for burial in 135 cemeteries and an additional 33 soldiers lots across the U.S. at their time of death. Filling out the “pre-need” paperwork will not qualify soldiers for burial in Arlington National Cemetery which is operated by the Army and requires the completion of a different application system.