There are a number of ways veterans, next-of-kin and authorized representatives can obtain a copy of the DD-214 form. In most cases the process takes 3-4 weeks. The DD-214 form is often needed for a job application, VA Loan, medical benefits, association membership, a veteran’s funeral benefit, school enrollment, reenlistment or proof of service for the many businesses offering military discounts.
How to get a copy of the DD-214:
Option 1: Request your copy online by visiting the National Archives Website
Option 2: Mailing the request with Standard Form 180 (SF-180)
National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
*If you are unable to access SF-180 online you can obtain the form by contacting the National Personnel Records Center, Department of Defense, Federal Information Centers, Veteran Administration Offices or Veterans Service Organizations. [& your local County Veteran Service Office]
Option 3: Faxing the request with Standard Form 180 (SF-180) to NPRC (314) 801-9049
It is important that all information is filled out correctly and that all paper forms are printed, signed and dated in order to expedite the process and prevent any delays.
The NPRC receives thousands of requests per day which can account for a lengthy response time. However, the website states that the majority of requests are responded to in just ten days. Unfortunately, for older records that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 fire at NPRC, the wait time may be 6 months or longer due to extensive search requirements.
Once you obtain your official copy of the DD-214 make sure it is stored alongside of other critical documentation such as your birth certificate and social security card in a safety deposit box or fire proof case in your home.
About DD Form 214
The DD Form 214 is a complete and thorough document that verifies a service member’s proof of military service. This Certificate of Release or Discharge form is issued through the Department of Defense and is typically issued at the final outprocessing appointment prior to retirement or separation.
The DD 214 document contains information required to verify the veteran’s time in service. Therefore, it is considered a vital piece of documentation since it is needed in order to obtain necessities such as benefits and retirement. The information found on the form can also be used for the veteran’s future employment, membership in veteran organizations, or a proof of service for businesses offering military discounts. It gives good insight into the veteran and his/her work history since it includes among other things, the service member’s:
Military job specialty
Decorations, medals, badges
Last duty assignment
Reason for Separation
The form also provides a condition of discharge for the service member. For example, the veteran may be given a status of honorable, general, other than honorable or bad conduct which may be helpful to a potential employer or lender.
Additionally, the DD-214 can also be used to gain access to an abundance of other benefits including home loans, GI benefits, funeral/cemetery accommodations and veteran affairs health care. The veteran will also need the form in order to enlist in the National Guard or Reserves.
This is why it is crucial for every veteran to secure their DD-214 form in a safe place so that they may gain quick access to it when the situation arises. If the form gets lost or misplaced, the service member or next of kin can request a copy through the National Personnel Records Center at the National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri.