ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) -- Officials say thousands of veterans are qualified for burial in suburban Chicago's closest national cemetery, but many are unaware of their federal benefits.
Nearly 38,000 soldiers and their families have been buried in Elwood's Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery since it opened in 1999. However, officials estimate many more don't know of the option.
Many people only know about Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for the burial plot, a headstone and other benefits valued at about $14,000. Still, the National Cemetery Administration reports 17 percent of veterans in 2013 were buried in national or state veterans cemeteries.