Dear Sgt Shaft:
I’m a retired Navy vet, and I understand that spouses may be buried in the same plot at a national cemetery. If my spouse predeceases me, can she still be interred until I pass on?
G. West (USN Retired)
Via the Internet
Dear G. West:
The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran is eligible for interment in a national cemetery even if that veteran is not buried or memorialized in a national cemetery. In addition, the spouse or surviving spouse of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States whose remains are unavailable for burial is also eligible for burial.
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.
The minor children of an eligible veteran can be buried in a national cemetery. In this case, a minor child is a child who is unmarried and (a) who is under 21 years of age; or, (b) who is under 23 years of age and pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved educational institution.
The unmarried adult child of an eligible veteran is also eligible. 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.
• Building upon a 66-year partnership with the states, the Department of Veterans Affairs has signed a formal agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) to enhance their relationship.
“State agencies are invaluable partners in providing services to veterans,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. “Our historic collaboration with NASDVA has ensured that countless veterans receive the benefits they have earned.”
The agreement pledges the two groups to maintain “effective communications, an exchange of ideas and information, identification of emerging needs, and continuous reevaluation of existing programs.”
NASDVA represents the state VA offices. The states fund about $5 billion in benefits and services for veterans.
The involvement of state governments in veterans affairs goes back to the American Revolution, with the federal government becoming involved after the Civil War. In 1946, NASDVA was created to coordinate programs between VA and the states, territories and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Shinseki signed the agreement Feb. 13 during the NASDVA mid-winter conference in Alexandria, Va.