Military Retiree Burial Benefits

Although it is not appealing to consider, as a retired servicemember it is important to know about your mortuary and burial benefits. This information can help you make plans for, and communicate your burial wishes.


In general, retirees are not authorized mortuary benefits at Government expense by virtue of their retired status. They may, however, be authorized certain benefits due to another status. For example, a retiree employed as a Department of the Army civilian (DAC) could qualify for preparation of remains and shipment of remains from overseas by military aircraft. Military service could qualify a retiree for burial in a Government cemetery, a grave marker, and burial honors.

Mortuary Benefits

Retirees are not eligible for the full range of mortuary benefits at Government expense unless, while on active duty for a period of more than 30 days, they become an inpatient in a U.S. government hospital, are retired while an inpatient, and die before being discharged from the hospital.

Retirees who retire under circumstances other than in a above are not entitled to mortuary benefits at Government expense by virtue of their retired status.

Retirees and their eligible family members who die outside the United States may be eligible for preparation of remains on a reimbursable basis for a nominal fee in an Armed Services mortuary if such services are available at the place of death and are requested by the U.S. Department of State. Requests should be made by a family member or representative of the family directly to the American Consular office in the country of death. Transportation of the remains to the preparing mortuary, casket, permits and fees, and further transportation of remains must be paid from private funds.

Transportation of Retirees Remains

Retirees who die while properly admitted to a military medical facility in the United States are authorized transportation of remains from the place of death to the place of burial, providing the place of burial is no further than the retiree's last residence.

When the place of death and place of burial are local to the residence, transportation is authorized for the removal of the remains from the place of death to a local funeral home and from the local funeral home to a local cemetery.

Transportation of the remains described in (a) and (b) above may not be to a place outside the United States.

Transportation of remains of eligible family members of retired soldiers who die in a military medical facility in the United States is also authorized. The installation mortuary officer at the place of death should be consulted on the status of implementation of this benefit.

Remains of retirees are authorized transportation of remains from overseas to the United States on U.S. military aircraft on a reimbursable or space available basis.

Retirees who die in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital or nursing home may be eligible for transportation of remains by VA. The local VA office should be contacted for eligibility rules.

VA Burial Benefits

Retirees are entitled to VA benefits. Read this section for more on VA benefits including headstones & markers, burial reimbursement, burial flags, burial in national cemeteries, and more.

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