The Department of Veterans Affairs has streamlined the process for families of deceased Veterans to receive a medallion which can be affixed to grave markers at private cemeteries and indicates the Veteran status of the deceased.
"This new form streamlines the ordering process, making it easier for families to order the medallion," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "The families want everyone to know that their loved one was a Veteran. We should help them do that in any way we can."
Previously, families ordered the medallion using the form to order a government headstone or marker. VA has introduced a new form -- VA Form 40-1330M -- for use solely to order a medallion. The older form, VA Form 40-1330, remains in place to order a traditional government headstone or marker.
The medallion is a device furnished in lieu of a traditional Government headstone or grave marker for Veterans whose death occurred on or after Nov. 1, 1990, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker. Under federal law, eligible Veterans buried in a private cemetery are entitled to either a government-furnished grave marker or the medallion, but not both.
The medallion is available in three sizes: 5 inches, 3 inches and 1 ½ inches in width. Each bronze medallion features the image of a folded burial flag adorned with laurels and is inscribed with the word "Veteran" at the top and the Veteran's branch of service at the bottom.
Next of kin receive the medallion, along with a kit that allows the family or the staff of a private cemetery to affix the medallion to a headstone, grave marker, mausoleum or columbarium niche cover.
The medallion is available only to Veterans buried in private cemeteries without a government headstone or marker. Families of eligible decedents may also order a memorial headstone or marker when remains are not available for interment.
More information about the medallion or headstones and markers can be found at http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hm/hmorder.asp. To download the VA Form 40-1330M, Claim for Government Medallion, go to http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330M.pdf.
VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. Nearly four million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict -- from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are buried in VA's national cemeteries on more than 19,000 acres.
Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Other burial benefits available for all eligible Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone, grave marker or medallion.
Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the VA Web site on the Internet at www.cem.va.gov or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 1-800-827-1000.