NFDA recently received information from the VA National Cemetery Administration (NCA) about an important change to the law that now limits how a Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) request can be accepted, and what information is required when a request for a PMC is received and processed by their office.
The Dignified Burial and Other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2012, enacted on January 10, 2013, amends Title 38 U.S.C. § 2411 to prohibit VA from providing burial or memorialization benefits to Tier III sex-offenders who were sentenced to a minimum of life imprisonment and whose conviction is final. It also prohibits VA from providing burial or memorialization benefits to individuals who committed a state or federal capital crime.
This law also impacts how the NCA can process a PMC application. They used to accept older versions of their application form, but because of changes in the law they can now only accept the June 2013 and August 2014 versions of VA Form 40-0247.
The newly revised form requires the applicant to certify that "to the best of your knowledge, that the decedent has never committed a Capital Crime or was never convicted of a sexual offense for which he or she was sentenced to a minimum of life imprisonment." Using and signing the new application will ensure that your request is processed in a timely manner and also that we are in compliance with existing law. Submitting your request using an older or outdated form will delay the processing of your request until the new form is submitted.
The communique from the NCA also encourages you to continue to visit their web page at http://www.cem.va.gov/pmc.asp where you will always find the current copies of the request form. Please always remember to sign the form, provide supporting military documents showing Active Duty service and to use the following fax number for the best service: 800-455-7143.
For information on VA burial benefits, visit www.cem.va.gov or call 800-827-1000.
You can sign-up for free emails from the NCA on memorial benefits available for eligible veterans and spouses through GovDelivery at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/usvanca/subscriber/new.