Knowing heartache and sacrifice that civilians don’t, the United States military wants to reward you for years of service.
Universities offer tuition scholarships, lenders provide affordable home loans, and some employers even give special hiring preferences to vets.
You may be searching for the DD214 Form that these entities request but are not sure what it is and how to find it. Our team wants to inform you what the DD214 Form is and how to obtain it.
What is a DD214?
Known as the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, the military provides this document after leaving service. You can obtain a copy via online, mail, or fax for benefits with retirement, employment, and more.
The DD214 proves you were honorably discharged and tells the government that you’re eligible for exclusive offerings that civilians don’t get.
The US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard all issue DD214’s when retiring or being discharged.
You’ll have several different forms if you served before January 1, 1950, such as:
- WD AGO 53
- WD AGO 55
- WD AGO 53-55
- NAVPERS 553
- NAVMC 78PD
- NAVCG 553
In cases where you left the armed forces on bad terms, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) won’t reward you.
Purpose of the DD214
By gathering a detailed history of your military service, organizations can evaluate whether you qualify for their benefits.
Potential employers, funeral directors, and other parties ask for your comprehensive service information on the DD214 to prove eligibility, including:
- Place of entry and date of active duty
- Place of release and date from active duty
- Home address during entry and release of active duty
- Last duty assignment and rank
- Military job specialty
- Military education
- Decorations, citations, campaign awards, medals, and badges’
- Creditable service total
- Foreign service credited
- Separation information (type of separation, character of service, authority and reason for separation, separation and reenlistment eligibility codes)
Military Benefits with the DD214
As military personnel, you have exclusive access to benefits that civilians don’t. They’re often financial incentives and unique opportunities that help you come home from military service.
Take a look at some of the many benefits you can get just by being an honorably discharged veteran:
Proving your military service to an employee can give you a leg up when applying. They may be searching for a veteran specifically or give preference to you over other candidates.
Also, some private contractors and government agencies could turn you down because they can’t hire a veteran by law.
When you present the DD214 and Certificate of Eligibility (COE), a lender can help you apply for a 0% down payment loan. There’s no limit to how much money you can borrow with a VA Loan and the VA waives private mortgage insurance (PMI).
You have the opportunity to join the military again with the DD214 Forn. It contains reenlistment (RE) codes that tell the armed forces how likely you are to be hired on again.
Funeral, Burial, and Cremation Benefits
The DD214 Form allows veterans to receive discounts on funeral and death expenses after they pass. Easing the burden on the family, they’ll have to show an appropriate discharge status in addition to the DD214.
Ways to Request a Copy of the DD214
While membership in veterans organizations can help transition into civilian life, they cannot obtain your DD214. You have 3 primary ways to get this military record and receive the honor you deserve.
1). Access a Free Copy Online from the National Archives
The simplest way to grab a copy of the DD214 is to speak with the National Personnel Records Center. They collect comprehensive records for the military and can give them to you with an online request.
You’ll have to wait several weeks for a response, so we recommend inquiring in advance.
2). Search Various Facilities at Once
3rd party websites, such as EZ DD214, locate the document among hundreds of federal and state facilities. They may still be processing your DD214 or the National Archives might not have a copy.
For $19.95, you can broaden the search and have the highest chance of finding the military record. The turnaround time is still several weeks, similar to contacting the National Archives.
3). Hire Government-Approved Researchers
Finally, you have the option of partnering with Touchstone or other government-approved researchers. They are specialized in hunting down the DD214 and can send it back within the same day.
If you’re in a hurry to grab the document, our team suggests partnering with a reputable research team.
DD214 FAQ for VA Loans
What if the National Archive has lost my DD214?
It can be frustrating to learn that the National Archive has lost your DD214.
Our team tells veterans to check the Veterans’ Service Records on the National Archive just in case: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records
If that doesn’t work, a VA lender can get you in touch with other companies that can dig for the document.
What version of the DD214 form does the lender require?
In most cases, VA Lenders ask for the Member 4 Copy of the DD214 Form. We recommend speaking with an experienced loan officer to know for sure.
Get Rewarded for Military Service
The VA wants to thank you for many years of sacrifice and service to this Great Country. One way they honor your family and let you enjoy the American Dream is by offering the VA Home Loan.
While the military may not have walked you through this financing option, we’d be happy to do so. Our VA lenders can take you through how VA Loans work and answer any questions you have.