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Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Your military discharge papers are officially known as DD214. All veterans receive this Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty once they are out of the military. The DD214 is proof of your military service. All branches use this same form. There may be no more important document, as it serves as the key to unlocking benefits of all kinds.

The DD214 (DD stands for Defense Department) provides veterans with a complete summary of their active military service. It usually lists dates of service, any commendations or medals received, the reason for separation, and the type of discharge

A DD214 generally is needed for the following:

VA Pension benefits

Home loans

Civilian employment

Veteran organizations membership

Social Security



Homeless veteran services

Medical services

Discounts for veterans

Unemployment compensation

The surviving spouse of a military veteran also needs to know how to access the DD214 for the service member's funeral service to receive patriotic honors. These include the folding and presentation of the United States burial flag, and the sounding of taps, at no cost to the family.

If you have lost or misplaced your DD214, you can request it by visiting the eVetRecs website and, as you go through the dropdown menus, select "Emergency Request" in the dropdown menu under: "Which of these categories best describes why you're requesting the records?" You won't see this option until you begin going through the records request process and get to the "Service and request details" section.

You can also request your DD214 directly from the Veterans Administration, but it could take months to receive it from them.

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