Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder announced an innovative new online pre-registration form which will allow veterans and their families to be pre-approved for burial in the state veterans cemeteries.
Traditionally, funeral directors contact the nearest state veterans cemetery when they receive a request to bury the remains of a veteran or dependent who previously expressed interest in burial at one of the four locations. In many cases, family members are unable to locate the veteran’s discharge papers which must be used to determine eligibility. The process to request and receive the appropriate discharge papers as well as determine eligibility can take several days or weeks.
“Our goal is to do all we can to assist and support veterans and their families,” Haslam said. “This online resource is a proactive and efficient way to offer them assistance before they face a crisis situation when delays can add to the trauma of loss.”
Veterans and their families can complete the online form which is submitted securely to their preferred state veterans cemetery, then mail their discharge papers to complete the application process. Cemetery personnel will use the discharge papers to confirm burial eligibility and will mail a formal response to the veteran or dependent within four to six weeks. Documentation will be archived digitally to ensure authorized cemetery staff can quickly access the information when the veteran or relative passes away to provide immediate assistance. The process does not reserve a specific plot, but will ensure the eligibility process is completed before time of death.
“Through our experience in serving and listening to veterans, survivors and dependents, we determined a pre-registration process for our state veterans cemeteries would enhance our mission to serve our stakeholders efficiently with compassion and dignity,” Grinder said. “The peace of mind this process will offer to Tennessee veterans and their families is an exciting component of ongoing innovative solutions.”
The Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs manages and maintains four state veterans cemeteries to include two in Knoxville, one in Nashville and one in Memphis. The department is in the planning process for two new state veterans cemeteries to include one in south west Tennessee and in the upper Cumberland region to ensure there is a cemetery within in a 75 mile radius of Tennessee’s veterans.
For more information regarding pre-registration for burial at the State Veterans Cemeteries visit http://www.tn.gov/veteran/burial_elg.shtml.