Cemetery Records at the Department of Veteran Affairs
The Department of Veterans Affairs State Cemetery Grants Program was founded in 1978 and was created to harmonize with their National Cemetery Administration (NCA). The purpose of the program is to offer assistance to states that provide gravesites for veterans in areas where the Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries are unable to completely meet burial needs.
The grants that are available are solely used for the purpose of establishing, growing or bettering cemeteries for veterans that are owned and operated by a U.S. state, U.S. territory or federally recognized tribal government. This assistance is only granted to the above mentioned places and is not for counties, cities, private organization or other government agencies.
As it stands now, if a project is approved, the VA can give as much as 100% of the development costs for the project. In regard to establishing new cemeteries, they can cover the operating equipment. However, the grant program will not cover the cost for acquisition of land. The reason is because the land's value is not viewed as an "allowable cost." As a result, states are completely responsible for acquisition of all needed land. Furthermore, should a state cease to own or operate a cemetery that was established, expanded or bettered through the use of the programs funds or have used these funds for non-grant related purposes, they will be held accountable for a full refund.
Cemeteries that are created with the States Cemetery Grants Program must adhere to all of the standards and guidelines that have been set by VA. What this means is that the cemeteries are required to operate only for the burial of veterans, service members who die while on active duty and their spouses and dependant children who meet qualifications. These burial grounds must be properly maintained and function in line with the operational measures and standards of the NCA.
The Veteran Affairs Grant Program has been carefully designed to complement the 128 national cemeteries maintained by VA. So far, the program has helped to create, grow or improve 73 state veterans cemeteries in 38 states, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, providing over 25,000 burials in 2008. To date they have awarded 174 grants.