Leaving the military can be a hectic and stressful time, especially with the current COVID-19 challenges. Transitioning veterans often forget how important it is to properly record and safeguard their most important military paperwork – the DD Form 214. That is where the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) can help.
The DD-214 is a document of the United States Department of Defense, issued upon a military service member’s retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States. It contains information needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans’ organizations.
“Of the thousands of requests for assistance we receive each year, veterans seeking help locating their DD-214 is the most common,” said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Eric Weller, deputy adjutant general of veterans affairs. “The DMVA has continued to prioritize these assistance requests throughout the pandemic.“
The DMVA can also assist with locating the DD-215, which is used to correct errors or make additions to a DD-214, helping to assure that veterans have accurate discharge documentation.
Weller said that the easiest way to manage military documents and avoid having to frantically search for them is to make sure they are filed in a safe place upon leaving the military.
“Every service member exiting the military should stop by the courthouse in their county of record to file their DD-214/215 with the Prothonotary’s Office,” said Weller. “This way, veterans and their family members will always know where to find an official copy and avoid a time-consuming search in the event that the original paper version gets lost. Regardless, if a Pennsylvania veteran needs our help, the DMVA will work hard to find these important documents for them.”
Anyone needing assistance from the DMVA to locate their DD-214/215, or other military documentation, can call toll-free 1-800-547-2838 or e-mail RA-REQ@pa.gov. More information about locating military documents can be found by visiting the Records Request Program.
Another way to stay in touch is for veterans, family members and people who work with veterans to sign up for the DMVA’s Veterans Registry by visiting www.register.dmva.pa.gov. Registration is available by computer or mobile device.