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What Is The DD214?

Published April 20, 2010
2 min read

Your DD Form 214 is your proof of military service. It shows the nature of your discharge, dates of service, and current classification (retired, separated, Guard or Reserve status).

When military members out-process as part of retirement or separation, getting the DD214 is one of the last things to happen after the briefings, equipment turn-in, and other clearances required as part of the "final out.” The DD 214 is one of the important documents you'll get from that final out-processing appointment. You need it to claim most, if not all, of your military benefits including VA loans, the GI Bill and medical services provided by the VA.

Many people misplace the DD214 for one reason or another. The stress of relocating from an overseas assignment back to civilian life is one common cause, but no matter what the reason for your misplaced DD Form 214, it's important to get a replacement as soon as possible.


You can request a FREE copy of your DD Form 214 simply by visiting the official United States Government site and filling out an online form.


In order to use this online form you must be the service member or the service member's next of kin. The information required to request a replacement copy of your DD Form 214 includes the veteran's Social Security Number, the branch of service, dates of military service, place of discharge and other vital information.

The military member or the next of kin must authorize the form. If you're filing on behalf of a deceased veteran, you must provide proof of death in the form of a death certificate, published obituary or other proof.


This data isn't required, but can be very helpful when applying for your free replacement DD Form 214. Give the reason for your request for a new DD214. Are you requesting veteran benefits or getting ready to retire? Do you have special deadlines connected to your DD214? Do you need it in time to close on a VA loan or start school? It's always helpful to pass along any special needs. If you need additional documentation on your military service, be sure to include that request along with your application for a replacement DD Form 214.


Some companies offer to get your DD214 for a fee. While this is not technically illegal, it is misleading. The process for getting your DD214 isn't as complicated as you might think and there's nothing a third party can do to speed it up. They only work on your behalf to spare you the paperwork, and for a fee many people feel is unreasonable once it's known how simple requesting your DD214 actually is.

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