The DD214: The Most Important Document of Your Life

When you’re discharged from the service, you’re issued a document that is almost as important as the air you breath. The DD Form 214, commonly called the DD214 and sometimes the Report of Separation, is generally required for veterans to receive benefits, reenlist, get a VA loan, join veterans’ organizations and much, much more.

The report includes every tiny detail about you: from when your entered into active duty until your last assignment. It reveals your rank, specialty, education, citations, awards, decorations…basically your entire military history.

For Your Eyes Only

Only you or your legal guardian has access to the DD214. Others who request your info, such as health records, must have your or your legal guardian’s signed consent.

Time Is Money – How to Get a DD214

It’s common in the military for things to take time. A long time. Getting the DD214 is no different. It can take months to receive it if you don’t want to pay. If you decide to roll the dice and get your records for free, this website at the National Archives has a step by step guide. There you will also find Standard Form 180 which needs to be submitted when you request the DD214. As mentioned, there’s no charge for this method but you may be on hold for many months.

If you don’t have the time to wait or don’t want to hassle with getting your own form, there are companies that, for a fee, will get your DD214 in a week or sometimes even the same day. If you decide to pay a company, they must have your written permission. If they don’t ask for your authorization in writing, they are probably running a scam to take your money.

The National Archives website lists dozens of companies you can hire to retrieve your records. However, many of the links at the site do not work and no web addresses are listed. They do include email addresses and phone numbers. Apparently, the list is not maintained and a lot of the companies no longer exist.

One company, Touchstone Research Group, has an $89 fee for getting your DD214. You can order online or by phone. They estimate one week for delivery but for an additional $10 can get it in three days. For $20 extra, they will deliver in two days. Or, if you require overnight delivery, you can get that for $30.

After you get your DD214, you should definitely make copies to give to a trusted family member, your attorney and/or your accountant.  Also, be sure to store the original in a safe place. To assure that you’ll never lose this vital document or other important records, check out a new web application,, that makes it easy to store your records online in a safe digital “vault”. Creating a VetCV account is free and allows you to access your important records anywhere, anytime.

If you’re getting out of the military, don’t delay in applying for the DD214. It’s the most important document for your life as a civilian.

Click the button below to safely store your medical and military records at VetCV 

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