By: Mike Nacincik

We’re honored and privileged to inter Veterans in VA national cemeteries across the country. But some Veterans in private cemeteries have not been recognized for their service to the nation. A new memorial benefit has been created to alleviate that problem, and now, it’s easier for family members to order a headstone medallion as a tribute to their Veteran’s commitment and sacrifice.

VA recently introduced a new form, VA Form 40-1330M, Claim for Government Medallion, to use when ordering the bronze medallion memorial benefit. The medallion is a new memorial benefit provided by VA authorized by Public Law 110-157, the Dr. James Allen Veteran Vision Equity Act of 2007. The medallion is a device that is attached to a Veteran’s private headstone or marker in a private cemetery to highlight that person’s status as a Veteran of our armed forces.

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. For those buried in a private cemetery VA can provide a medallion in lieu of a traditional Government headstone or marker for Veterans whose death occurred on or after November 1, 1990.

VA’s Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials worked with VA staff and the Department of the Army’s Institute of Heraldry to design the medallions. 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 new form replaces using VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker, initially used to order a medallion and still used for ordering a traditional Government headstone or marker.

More information about the medallion and headstones and markers go to 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.

Mike Nacincik is a public affairs officer at VA. He retired from the Army with 23 years of service.