Make sure you plan enough time and understand how to request military records, especially the DD-214 separation record, to have them ready for the deadlines of your VA Home Loan application, military loan, or GI Bill benefits for your higher education.
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How Your DD-214 Provides Access to a VA Mortgage, GI Bill Benefits, and More

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The U.S. Government maintains military records for more than 34 million former members of the military and former members of the civil service. Each year, there are over 2 million requests for military records information, copies of documents, or other military records.

One of the most popular requests - over 4,000 requests per day, totaling more than 40 percent of all requests - are for the separation document DD Form 214. Containing vital military information such as dates and character of service, final rank, awards earned, and military occupation specialty, the DD Form 214 separation document is key to accessing veterans benefits including VA home loans, education, training, and medical care.

Make sure you plan enough time and understand how to request military records, especially the DD Form 214 separation record, to have them ready for the deadlines of your VA Home Loan application, military loan, or GI Bill benefits for your higher education.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE MILITARY RECORDS?

Most of the time, NPRC provides certified copies of separation documents within 10 workdays. When you're applying for a VA Home Loan, factor in enough time to get the DD 214 for a timely mortgage approval.

Cases more complex than simply copying a separation document are typically processed in about five weeks, although the goal for all answering all requests is 10 working days. Keep that in mind, too.

WHO CAN REQUEST MILITARY RECORDS?

Veterans, or next of kin of deceased veterans, may obtain information or copies of all documents from military service or health records. Limited military records information is provided to others who can sufficiently identify the records sought. Anyone who asks for information that is not readily available under privacy guidelines, such as a prospective employer who wants to know a veteran's character of service (honorable or dishonorable, for example) or a newspaper reporter wanting to verify service information, must have the veteran's written authorization.

HOW TO APPLY FOR MILITARY RECORDS

Veterans or next of kin of deceased veterans can use eVetRecs to submit record requests via the Internet, to expedite the response when you need to verify military service quickly to prove eligibility for veterans benefits. An eVetRecs user must print a signature form, sign and date it, and either fax or mail it to NPRC to activate the request so that their right-to-access can be verified.

A Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, is recommended for requesters who do not use eVetRecs, but even a letter is adequate. Make sure your letter contains the veteran's name, military branch, approximate years of service, Social Security Number, service number (if one was assigned), authorization signature, and date. The SF 180 is available at libraries, VA facilities, and veterans' organizations. It can also be downloaded from the NARA web site.

NO ELECTRONIC MILITARY RECORDS

There are no electronic military personnel records yet, and contrary to some reports, there are no plans to destroy military veterans' paper records. NARA has appraised the OMPFs as permanently valuable historic records of the federal government.

Among the military records stored are the World War II Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of former Presidents George H.W. Bush and John F. Kennedy, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester Nimitz, and Baseball Hall of Fame's Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson.

Other popular requests are for copies of veterans health records, replacement or newly authorized service medals, records of one's own (or a family member's) military service, and verification for entitlement for burial in a national cemetery.




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