When service members separate from the military as they retire or are discharged, they receive a form called DD214 at their final out-processing appointment.
Occasionally, this DD Form 214 may have one or more mistakes that go unnoticed.
These military record mistakes can be corrected with a form called the DD215.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the DD215 form.
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1. Importance Of DD Form 214
To understand the purpose of the DD215 form, it’s essential to understand the importance of DD Form 214.
All veterans are issued a DD-214 by the Defense Department upon retirement or separation from the U.S. military.
During the final out-processing appointment, before transitioning to civilian status, the service member reviews a copy of their DD Form 214.
This is important to ensure that the DD214 is accurate and correct.
The Report of Separation form contains essential information to verify a veteran’s military service so they can receive benefits, retirement pay, employment, and organizational memberships.
This form stipulates the condition of discharge, including:
In addition, the DD214 contains information regarding rank, military education and job specialty, medals and awards, and total creditable service.
Most DD214 errors are caught and corrected when the pre-finalized copy is reviewed at the final out-processing appointment.
However, some veterans may notice subsequent mistakes on their official DD214 copy.
Thankfully, these mistakes can be corrected with the DD215 form.
2. Purpose Of Form DD215
The official name of DD215 is DD Form 215, Correction To DD Form 214.
Therefore, its purpose is to correct any errors or mistakes that appear on a veteran’s DD214.
Since the DD Form 214 represents a service member’s separation paperwork from the military, it’s essential that the information be free of errors.
However, if changes or corrections need to be made to a veteran’s DD214, the DD Form 215 is available to implement them.
First, the former service member must submit a request for correction using the DD215.
A copy of the DD214 must be submitted as well (not the original document).
In nearly all cases, supporting details must be provided as they relate to any erroneous information on the DD Form 214.
This may include copies of supportive documentation such as birth certificates, social security card, marriage license, divorce decree, court orders, and more.
Providing such supportive documentation will help streamline the processing of the DD215 and enhance a smooth path to approving DD214 corrections.
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3. How To Obtain And Submit A DD Form 215
As advised by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, former service members who need to correct their military records can obtain a DD Form 215 through MilConnect.
The DD215 can be accessed via MilConnect with a DS Login.
Once signed in to MilConnect, veterans can navigate to Defense Personnel Records Information, select their personnel file, and then select DD215 in the Document Index section.
Veterans should be aware that any requested changes made on the DD Form 215 are not automatically applied to their DD Form 214.
Therefore, it is essential to check for and retain the email notifying that the VA is processing the DD215 request.
Then a second email should be sent when the request is complete and the personnel file is ready to be viewed and downloaded.
In addition, veterans can check the status of their records request through MilConnect and checking their Defense Personnel Records Information.
4. Clerical Mistakes, Corrections, And Amendments To Military Records
Occasionally, there are clerical errors made on a DD Form 214 at the time the document is created.
These clerical mistakes are fairly easy to have corrected based on evidence of the error.
These corrections are typically made with an issue of a DD Form 215 and not by issuing a new DD Form 214, in most cases.
Examples Of Clerical Errors
Here is a list of the most common items of information subject to clerical error and that may be corrected with DD Form 215 by the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC):
- Any misspelled names
- Incorrect initials
- Reversed first and middle names or first and last names
- Nickname presented rather than full legal name
- Name change (before separation from military)
- Incorrect date of birth
- Any transposed digits of social security number or service number
- Information regarding medals, awards, etc.
Examples Of Substantive Amendments
The NPRC is considered the physical, though not legal, custodian of military records.
This means that the NPRC is not authorized to amend any military records beyond clerical errors.
Therefore, the military service department that created the record is responsible for making any substantive changes in information on a veteran’s DD Form 214.
There are several items that the NPRC is not authorized to correct using DD Form 215, as they represent more significant errors that are not likely due to clerical mistakes.
- Character of service
- Reason for separation
- Separation authority
- Separation code
- Narrative reason for discharge
- Dates of time lost
- Reenlistment code
- Social security number (if different on military record by other than transposed digits)
- Significant name changes (beyond misspellings or reversals)
- Corrections that are not clearly documented in the military record
- Corrections that are potentially controversial in nature
No matter whether a former service member notes a clerical or more substantial error on their DD214, it is important to pursue a correction as quickly as possible.
There can be negative implications and consequences if errors are present on the DD Form 214, resulting in problems receiving benefits, pay, etc.
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5. Next Of Kin And DD Form 215
In some cases, next of kin may need to request a former service member’s military records and make corrections.
There are several reasons for next of kin to ensure accurate military records, from receiving proper benefits to access to military funeral and burial rights.
Next of kin may include a surviving spouse who has not remarried, children, parents, or siblings of the veteran.
Rather than submitting DD Form 215, next of kin must go through the National Personnel Records Center and utilize Standard Form 180.
For more information, next of kin (and veterans as well) can contact the NPRC or their state/county veterans affairs agency.