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Determine Your Veteran Status

Veteran Status

Determining Veteran Status – Eligibility

Service Records: Proving Your Eligibility

In order for a veteran to show they’re eligible for benefits, they must first present the VA office with an official copy of their DD Form 214/215, or NGB 22/22A, which are some of the most significant documents issued by the military. They are a requirement for all VA business and inquiries in addition to several state and federal veteran’s benefits programs.

DD Forms 214 and 215
For active-duty members and members of the Reserves, DD Forms 214 and 215 are considered documentation of military service. DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge provides the VA with time in reserve and active-duty, military job, awards, education, dates and locations the individual entered and left the military, military assignments, and reason for leaving the service and characterization of discharge. DD Form 215, on the other hand, records and corrects any mistakes that might be added to DD Form 214 after being delivered.

Of these forms there are two versions:

  • The deleted version can be shown to promising civilian employers during job applications and it omits the characterization of discharge and reason for discharge.
  • The undeleted version is mandatory when applying for VA benefits and includes discharge characterization and reason for discharge.

When processing for departure from the military, veterans should obtain a copy of the deleted and undeleted versions of the DD Form 214. If a copy was not received or went missing, a request can be made for a new one from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Getting replacement copies of DD Form 214, 215

The National Personnel Records Center is in charge of copies of all active-duty and reserve military records. For a request of a copy of any portion of military records, such as the DD Form 214/215, submit a signed copy of SF Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records.

SF Form 180 is available for download from:

www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf.

Mail the completed form to:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

(TIP)

To avoid mail time, it is now possible to request records online at www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/. Also, because the federal law necessitates a signature on all records requests, a signature verification form must still be printed, signed, and mailed or faxed.

Duration of preparation

In the past, DD Form 214/215 requests could take as long as 180 days to process. Fortunately in recent years, thanks to Congress donating funds to upgrade computers, the National Personnel Records Center can process and mail DD Form 214 in as little as seven days. Not all requests experience such a quick processing time however, as the length of time to process can fluctuate significantly due to the type of request.

NGB Forms 22 and 22A

NGB Form 22, Report of Separation and Military Service, encloses information concerning an Army or Air National Guard service member’s National Guard service time, military job, decorations, reason for discharge, and discharge characterization, similar to the DD Forms 214 and 215 for active-duty and reserves. NGB Form 22A is used in making changes to a military record after submission.

(REMINDER)

The National Guard is associated with the individual state and not the federal government, so there’s not a central storehouse for National Guard records.

For a copy of the NGB Form 22/22A, a request must be made to the National Guard Adjutant General’s Office in the state from which the service member carried out their National Guard service. Contact information can be found here:  .

Military medical records

Every time a service member is given medical care from a military medical facility—including the very first physical examination each member must take part in during the initiation stages of service—their specifics are documented in their military medical record.

Medical records are important for the VA offices as well because they use them as evidence when defining whether or not a medical condition was caused or worsened by service time.

To request a copy of military medical records, send a written request to:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, Mo 63132-5100

(TIP)

You don’t need to request a copy of your military medical record if you plan to file a claim for medical benefits (covered in Chapter 4) or disability compensation (covered in Chapter 6) with the VA because when a claim is filed, the VA requests the record routinely as part of their criteria. Same goes for a claim for disability benefits from the VA, as it already holds a copy of your medical records.

Protecting Your Paperwork

Because DD Form 214/215 and NGB Form 22/22A are sensitive documents, it is important to insure the protection of these forms. Safe-deposit boxes at a bank or other lock boxes are secure locations for such records.

(TIP)

Soon after departing from the military it is advantageous to contemplate registering these documents with a county recorder or town hall, as most states permit individuals to record separation documents the same as any other momentous document. A negligible fee is generally required to salvage these documents at a later date.

(WARNING)

If public access to your documents is authorized by state or local law, it gives the public availability to your sensitive documents and can actually be detrimental in the effort to protect personal information. Make sure to inquire before registering.

16 comments

  1. I am a Vietnam Vet and I would like to get an identification card from the VA. How do I get one. ihave a copy of my dd214.

  2. I am an honorably discharged National Guardsman with 10% VA disability. Am I considered a veteran? It does not look like I qualify for a DoD ID and in some cases it appears I am not considered a veteran at all.

    • Veterans Authority

      A “Veteran” is a person who

      • served in the active military, naval or air service, and
      • was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.

      References:
      • For more information on the definition of the term “Veteran” for purposes of compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and death pension, see 38 CFR § 3.1(d).
      • For a list of groups approved for Veteran status, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.K.78.

      You can find more information about your VA benefits here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/

  3. How do I know if I am a veteran I was in the national guard and then went active and then discharged my service time 86 to 91

    • Veterans Authority

      If you served in the active military service and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA benefits as well.

      Reserves or National Guard members with active duty for training purposes only do not meet the basic eligibility requirement. See http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp for more info.

  4. I was in basic training in 1982 during bivouac I fainted and was rushed to the hospital via ambulance I had pneumonia. I was given the option to be recycled or a TDY discharge allowing me to return in 6 months. I opted for the discharged, but did not return in 6 months. A few years ago I was enrolling in school and the subject of my time in the army came up, I had never looked at my DD214 and when I did it stated I was discharged for being non=productive/marginal. This was not the case I was discharged about 5 days after being released from Noble Army Hospital at Ft. McCullean in Anniston Alabama. I sent a letter advising the real reason for my discharge and was advised that there was a fire and a lot of records were destroyed. Whwn I questioned the fact that the hospital must have records the person that was responding to my letter told me “how dare I make demands”. What do I need to do to the correct my discharge records?

    • Veterans Authority

      The individual military departments do not maintain files or records pertaining to individuals no longer on active duty. When an individual is separated from military service (because of retirement, discharge from active duty, or death) his/her Field Personnel File (containing all military and health records) is forwarded for storage to the National Personnel Records Center (Military), 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63172. The Records Center is under the jurisdiction of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of the U.S. Government.

      Their web site is: Veterans Service Records

      http://www.archives.gov/veterans/index.html

      An individual’s complete service record is available to the former service member or, if deceased, to his/her next of kin (parents, spouse, or children). Limited information (such as dates of service, awards, and training) is available to anyone. Not available to the general public is information which would invade an individual’s privacy, such as medical records, Social Security number, or present address.

      To order records from St. Louis:

      – If you are a veteran or next-of-kin of a deceased veteran, use eVetRecs, at vetrecs.archives.gov (or use the paper form, SF-180).
      – All others, use Standard Form 180.

  5. I served active duty US Army from 1989 to 1993 with honorable discharge. Am I still considered a veteran? Do I eligible for any benefits at this time?

  6. I joined the Army in early August of 2000. I was released in mid December of 2000 for Hardship because my mother became deathly ill. I was required to care for her. Do I qualify as a veteran?

    • Veteran Assistance

      This should be helpful regarding your status as a veteran. https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42324.pdf

    • Veterans Authority

      Minimum Duty Requirements
      Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, for a hardship or “early out,” or those who served prior to September 7, 1980. Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply so that we may determine their enrollment eligibility. You can check here for more information: http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

  7. Im a Veteran, applying for a Federal job with, lets say “a lettered agency” and when the Veterans preference option came up, a box with 3 options appeared with these choices;
    1) New Fed
    2)Prev DCIPS
    3)Prev Fed.

    I have NO CLUE what these mean, with the exception of “DCIPS”, I only know that the acronym itself is, i dont know what they are meaning in this sense (when its comes to Veterans preference)

  8. I was in the National Guards in Kentucky in the 70’s for 6 Years with a DD- 214 when discharged! I know I won’t receive benefits but am I a Veteran?

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