Any military veteran would understand the significance of a DD Form 214 in post-active duty service. Your military records are vital to claiming veterans’ benefits, such as home loans and education assistance. Moreover, your official military personnel file is crucial for post-military employment opportunities.
Considering how vital military service records are, you should always have a copy of your DD 214. However, people lose the original copy of their DD214 for various reasons. The original documents may have gotten lost or damaged. On the bright side, multiple ways exist to get a replacement DD Form 214.
- 1 What Is a Form DD214?
- 2 What Are the Requirements to Get a Replacement DD214?
- 3 Different Methods to Get a Replacement DD214
- 4 Step-by-Step Method to Get a Replacement DD214
- 5 How Much Does It Cost to Get a Replacement DD214?
- 6 Appeals and Corrections for DD214
- 7 Additional Resources for DD214
- 8 Emergency Request: What if You Need a DD214 Replacement Right Away?
- 9 Can Someone Else Request a Replacement of My DD214?
- 10 Conclusion
- 11 FAQs:
What Is a Form DD214?
Before diving into the ways to request military service records, what is a DD214, to begin with? Every military veteran is issued a Report of Separation after they were on active duty or had rendered active duty training for a minimum of 90 consecutive days.
Since January 1950, the Department of Defense has released the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty to former service members. This official military personnel file is commonly known as DD Form 214 or DD 214. The original copies of this form are primarily given upon a military personnel’s retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty.
Military records contain plenty of pertinent information that summarizes one’s personal military history. Critical information in this form includes active duty service dates, military branch and official role, date, place of entry into active duty, total creditable service, and separation information.
Moreover, there are two types of DD214: the short/redacted/deleted version and the long/unredacted/undeleted version. The main distinction between the two is that the short version omits plenty of vital information, like one’s Characterization of Service, Authority of Separation, and Reason for Separation.
What Are the Requirements to Get a Replacement DD214?
One does not simply walk into the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) or National Archives to obtain a replacement copy of DD214. You should be ready before you proceed to make a request.
Obtaining Required Information
Regardless of your chosen method to obtain military records, you should have basic information on the veteran to process your request. People who intend to request military service records must know that person’s complete name in their discharge, last unit, birth date, military branch, service number and dates, discharge status, and military rank.
If necessary, the person requesting the form should provide proof of their connection.
Determine Eligibility and Documentation for DD214
Not everyone can access military records unless that person was discharged over 62 years ago. Only the military veterans and their next of kin are authorized representatives for this request. Thus, if the person requesting is a military spouse or sibling, they should provide proof of relationship with the veteran.
Should you hire an independent researcher to obtain copies of your DD Form 214, you should provide an authorization letter and all the pertinent information they need.
If you’re a family member planning a veteran’s burial at a VA national cemetery, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117. Their staff can help you obtain the documents you need for emergency requests.
Considering that only veterans and their next of kin are authorized to obtain replacement DD214, can everyone else access military records? The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act enable public access to select information on military personnel. Anyone, including foreign nationals, can obtain limited information on service members even if they were discharged less than 62 years ago.
In addition, it should be noted that select military records were destroyed due to the 1973 fire incident at the National Personnel Records Center. While the Department of Defense has retrieved plenty of these records, you should confirm if your documents were affected by this incident.
Different Methods to Get a Replacement DD214
Fortunately for veterans, you don’t have to go all the way to the NPRC in Missouri to obtain replacement copies of DD Form 214. The e-Vetrecs website is one of the most efficient methods to secure copies of DD214. This is a FREE service, so you should take advantage of this resource.
You may also send requests to the National Personnel Records Center. You may complete a Standard Form-180 or send a letter containing your signed and dated request via mail or fax. Alternatively, you may visit the NPRC office in Missouri to request your military records. You may also see your local VA office for assistance.
Step-by-Step Method to Get a Replacement DD214
Submitting Your Request
If you prefer to submit your request to the National Personnel Records Center, you must either complete a Standard Form-180 (SF-180) or send a letter via mail or fax. You should ensure you read the detailed instructions thoroughly before printing your SF-180. If you prefer to send a letter, it should contain the following information:
- The veteran’s complete name
- Service or social security number. It would be ideal if you could supply both.
- The branch of service the veteran was part of
- Entry and discharge dates, as well as military service place
- Birth date and place
- Last duty assignment place
For your convenience, here’s the NPRC’s official address:
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
The NPRC’s fax number is 314-801-9195. You may contact the NPRC customer service line at 314-801-0800.
If you choose to submit your request pertaining to military records via the e-Vetrecs website, you should follow these steps:
- On the home page, choose the ‘Make A New Request’ option.
- Clarify whether you’re the veteran, next of kin, or other. You must state if your request is for a current or former member.
- Provide the necessary basic information, as instructed. These include the veteran’s branch of service at the time and service component. You’ll also be asked to indicate whether that person was an Officer or Enlisted in the Veterans Service Details tab. Lastly, you need to state the purpose of the request.
- Indicate which government document you’re requesting.
- Provide your full name and contact details.
- Review all the information you shared, and click submit once done.
It should be highlighted that veterans are entitled to obtain FREE copies of their DD214. While your request might take some time, you shouldn’t have to pay.
Tracking and Receiving Your Replacement DD214
It’s also relatively easy to track the status of your request for service records. The e-Vetrecs website has a follow-up option for your convenience. If you submitted your request to the NPRC, you may reach the NPRC customer service line at 314-801-0800.
The waiting time for standard requests ranges from three to four weeks. However, if you request corrections, you’ll have to wait longer. The documents can be delivered via mail, email, or in-person pickup.
Regardless of your chosen method, you should ensure all the information in the form is accurate. Moreover, it would be best to take good care of your DD Form 214, given its importance to your post-active duty life.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Replacement DD214?
In general, you may obtain FREE copies of your replacement DD 214. Requesting for replacement copies is a free service. However, if that veteran was discharged over 62 years ago, there’s a fee for ‘archival’ records. Here are the prices for a person’s official military personnel file (OMPF) for your guidance:
- $25 flat fee for routine OMPFs with five or fewer pages
- $70 flat fee for routine OMPFs with six or more pages
- If the personnel is considered a Person of Exceptional Prominence (PEP), the price is $0.80 per page (minimum $20).
Appeals and Corrections for DD214
If your appeal refers to your military records’ information, like name and address, you should complete a DD-149. However, if your request pertains to a discharge upgrade, you should accomplish the DD Form 293. These forms have detailed instructions on where to send them upon accomplishment.
Requests for correction of military records should be submitted within three years after discharge. If you fail to submit your request on time, the Discharge Review Board might deny your request. Each military branch has its review board, so you should send it to the appropriate office.
For people discharged over 15 years ago, you must petition the appropriate service Board for Correction of Military Records using DoD Form 149. There will be a hearing to settle the matter.
Additional Resources for DD214
If you’re researching another service member, the National Archives may be of assistance. Their website contains valuable resources to learn more about US military history. Refer to the Department of Veterans Affairs if you have concerns regarding veterans’ benefits. You may also seek assistance from your respective veterans service organization.
Emergency Request: What if You Need a DD214 Replacement Right Away?
If you need a DD 214 for burial requests, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117. They can help expedite the process accordingly.
Can Someone Else Request a Replacement of My DD214?
Technically, only the veteran and their next of kin may submit a request pertaining to replacement DD 214. However, you may authorize a third party to submit your request on your behalf.
Given how vital one’s DD 214 is to one’s life after the military, you should always ensure you have a copy. There are different methods you can explore to submit your request. If you need to confirm active duty status, we at Military Verification can assist you.
Where can I find my DD214?
The primary source for this form is the National Archives and the National Personnel Records Center. You may also obtain copies through your local VA office.
What does DD214 stand for?
DD214 stands for Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. This is an essential document for all veterans.
What are the different methods to get a replacement DD214?
You can obtain replacement copies via the e-Vetrecs website, the NPRC through in-person requests, mail or fax, or the VA. You should go to the National Archives if the veteran were discharged over 62 years ago.
What is the fastest way to get a replacement DD214?
The quickest and easiest way to obtain a replacement copy is the e-Vetrecs website. You can also track your request through this platform.