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Government Shutdown Won’t Impact National Cemetery Burials

October 3, 2013

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Government Shutdown Won’t Impact National Cemetery Burials

Article originally published in the Thursday October 3rd Memorial Business Journal

In the event of a continuing government shutdown, burials will continue at the national cem- eteries, though possibly at a reduced rate.

John H. Fitch Jr., senior vice president of the National Funeral Directors Association’s Advocacy Division, was in- formed by the Department of Veterans Affairs that there will be interment crews at each national cemetery to conduct burials.

However, if there is an increase in burials at a particular cemetery, over what can be accommodated by the reduced crew, the burials will be scheduled accordingly.

In other words, if there is an increase in burials at a cemetery with a full schedule, additional burials would be scheduled as soon as possible, which could result in a slight delay. This is not anticipated but could happen.

Here is the currently thinking about the conduct of military funeral honors. Since the Department of Defense is re- sponsible for military funeral honors and since the services may have reduced resources to meet this obligation, there may be an impact. The National Cemetery Administration defers to DOD on this matter.

During normal operations, NCA staff will coordinate with families and funeral directors so that families’ wishes can be met with volunteer or DOD honor guards. Some NCA cemeteries have full contingent volunteer groups that can substitute for the military honors team, if possible and appropriate. NCA plans to continue this coordination and use of volun- teers during the lapse in appropriation.

Of note, funerals and burials at Arlington National Cemetery have not been affected by the government shutdown. ANC is under the authority of the Department of the Army at the Department of Defense rather than VA.

For more information, visit www.va.gov/opa/docs/Field_Guide_20130927.pdf


Fitch also added, regarding Social Security payments during the government shutdown, that the SSA advises:

1. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments will continue uninterrupted, with no change in pay- ment dates.

2. Social Security field offices will remain open with limited services, and hearings offices will remain open to conduct hearings.

3. Social Security card centers will be closed.

Find more detailed information about the impact of the government shutdown on SSA at www.socialsecurity.gov/shut-down/index.html

[via: Memorial Business Journal]