Do you need a copy of your DD 214?
There are several ways to request a copy of DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
The document is necessary to confirm military service as well as apply for military benefits.
Thus, you’ll want to make sure you keep a copy for personal records.
Discover the 5 fastest ways to get a copy of your DD 214.
Related Article – Military Service Records: How To Lookup By Name For Free
How to Get DD 214 Copy
How do you get a copy of your DD 214?
DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty is necessary to verify military service and for several other purposes.
As a result, it’s important to retain a copy for your own records.
Form DD 214 is required to apply for certain military benefits, school enrollment, employment, and presented for military discounts.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways that veterans, military dependents, and family members may access Form DD 214:
- VA milConnect Request
- VA eBenefits
- National Archives Request
- Form SF-180 Request
- Federal Military Records Center
Veterans Affairs requires DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty for most of its programs.
Therefore, if you are seeking to apply for VA loans, medical benefits, or make funeral arrangements – you’ll need a copy.
Purpose of DD 214 Form
The Department of Defense provides a DD 214 to everyone that served in the military.
Consequently, you may obtain a copy of DD 214 for your own records.
In general, Form DD 214 is used to apply for several military benefits and services.
For this reason, you can use the form for the following reasons:
- Confirm / Verify Military Service
- Apply for Military Benefits / Medical Benefits
- Apply for VA Benefits
- Education / School Enrollment
- Employment / Veteran Preference Hiring
- Military Discounts
- Funeral Arrangements / Funeral Benefits
In most situations, Form DD 214 is an acceptable form of military / veteran identification.
DD 214 Form Recipients
In general, when a service member leaves the military, 8 copies are distributed.
The copies are sent to different entities, including 2 for personal records (short-form and long-form version).
However, in the event that you fail to receive or lose that copy, you can request a replacement DD 214.
The form features information relevant for employment, including education, military job specialty, and last duty assignment.
Moreover, employers often review the document for the type of military discharge.
As a result, certain private or government employers may not hire someone that was discharged from the military dishonorably.
Often, the copies of DD 214 are distributed to the following people / organizations:
- Service Member (DD 214 Short-Form & Long-Form Version)
- Service Branch
- Veterans Administration (VA)
- Department of Labor (DOL)
- VA State Office (Where Applicable)
The long form version of DD 214 is only sent to the service member if specifically requested.
Long-form versions include additional information such as character of service, type of discharge, and re-enlistment eligibility.
This type of information is reviewed by government agencies and potential employers, so you may want to request a copy to discover what information is on it.
Regardless, both the long and short-form contain enough information to verify military service.
5 Fastest Ways to Get Copy of DD 214
Are you seeking to verify military service?
Do you need to access the information for military benefits?
Here are the 5 fastest ways to get a copy of the document:
#1. Veterans Affairs milConnnect Request
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs features a way to request Form DD 214 online.
The website supports service members in every branch outside the U.S. Coast Guard.*
First, you’ll need to sign-in with milConnect to access military service records.
Please note that access is only available with a premium DS account.
For this reason, your My HealtheVet or ID.me credentials will not work with the milConnect website.
Then, access the website directly to quickly retrieve your Form DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
Questions? Feel free to contact Department of Defense support office at (800) 538-9552.
*NOTE: Veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard can request a copy of DD 214, here!
#2. Veterans Affairs eBenefits
Secondly, veterans may get a copy of DD 214 from eBenefits.
The website is once again a service of the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
It allows you to access important documents and military records, including Form DD 214.
First, click “Military Personnel File” to verify, review, or print the official Military Personnel File.
The Military Personnel File is quick and easy to access for a fast copy of DD 214.
#3. National Archives Request
Third, veterans have the option of requesting Form DD 214 from the National Archives website.
The website features a fast and effortless way to get a copy of DD 214 and other separation documents.
Veterans may access the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), including making burial or emergency requests.
Furthermore, the National Archives includes important information regarding medical and health records.
As a result, many consider this one of the best free resources for finding military service records.
The web services are also available to next of kin of a veteran.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that recent military service and medical records may not be available online.
Moreover, certain military records (60+ years) require a fee to access.
Looking for records? Click “Start Request Online” to get started on the website.
The National Archives DD 214 Form request is a little slower compared to Veterans Affairs.
Consequently, expect 1-3 weeks for the request to get processed (check status of existing request).
#4. Standard Form 180 (SF-180) Request
Lastly, veterans and military dependents have the option of completing Standard Form 180 (SF-180).
The form is available for download thanks to the National Archives.*
First, you need to complete the form by entering applicable information.
Then, submit the form via standard mail or fax.
It’s worth mentioning that this is not the fastest way to obtain a copy of your DD 214.
However, it’s usually the only option for relatives of a deceased veteran (outside the National Archives online request).
Furthermore, the SF-180 works best if you would like to avoid entering or accessing personal information online.
It’s crucial that applicants read instructions carefully to avoid any processing delays.
The receiving address often varies based on branch, service date, and other factors so make sure you are delivering to the correct recipient.
Finally, family members may want to consider accessing the document for burial planning at a VA cemetery.
There are burial benefits and other reimbursements available for next of kin or military dependents.
*NOTE: Form SF-180 is also available by contacting a local VA office, veteran service organization, or National Personnel Records Center.
#5. Federal Military Records Center
The Federal Military Records Center hires organizations like Aardvaark Research Group to manage DD 214 requests.
Accordingly, the organization processes requests for a price (currently $89).
However, it’s a fast way to get a copy of DD 214 since it takes less than 10 days to process.
The option is best designed for military dependents or relatives that do not qualify for expedited service from the National Archives.
As a result, Aardvaark Research Group provides certified copies in as little as 1-2 days.
The company is reputable with an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Nonetheless, you’ll have to pay substantially for this service compared to the other options.
Once you receive the document, make sure to store in a safe and secure location.
The form is as valuable as a driver’s license, birth certificate, or social security card.
Thus, make sure you store it properly and do not present to just anyone.
For this reason, a safety deposit box or fireproof case are the best storage options.
Do you need to get a copy of your DD 214?
Rest easy, there are several ways to obtain a free copy.
You’ll find that some of these options provide near immediate access.
Meanwhile, other services are free but may require you to wait a little longer (i.e. National Archives).
Regardless, you can get a copy of the form in 1-2 weeks depending on the service.
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