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Beginning The VA Claim Process: First Steps - DD214

The DD Form 214 is a Report of Separation. A Report of Separation is generally used to qualify for VA benefits and other post-military benefits. According to the National Archives, this is “generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training.”

The Report of Separation includes the following information:

  • Date and type of separation

  • Date/place of entry into active duty

  • Home address at time of entry

  • Date/place of release from active duty

  • Home address after separation

  • Last duty assignment

  • Final military rank

  • Military job specialty

  • Military education

  • Decorations, medals, badges earned

  • Citations and campaign awards earned

  • Total creditable service

  • Foreign service credited

  • Character of service, authority and reason for separation

Used since 1950, those serving prior to that year may have received other forms that accomplish the same thing, but which have been since made obsolete by DD Form 214.

Those who retired or separated from military service prior to 1 January, 1950, may have been issued any of the following depending on branch of service and other variables.

  • WD AGO 53

  • WD AGO 55

  • WD AGO 53-55

  • NAVPERS 553

  • NAVMC 78PD

  • NAVCG 553

To get your DD214, start by creating an account or logging on to milConnect in the top right corner:

  1. From your signed-in homepage, click or tap on Correspondence/ Documentation. Then select Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS) from the drop-down menu.

  2. Choose the Personnel File tab.

  3. Select Request My Personnel File.

  4. Fill out the form. In the Document Index section, check the boxes next to the document(s) you’d like to request.

  5. Click or tap on the Create and Send Request button.

You will receive an email confirming your request is being processed. You can also check the status of your military records request by signing in to milConnect and going to the Personnel File tab within the Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS) section. This is also where you’ll review and download your files once they’re ready.

There are other ways to obtain your military records. You can mail or fax SF180 to the National Personnel Records Center.

Download PDF • 848KB

Mail to: NPRC

1 Archives Dr.

St. Louis, MO 63138

Fax to: 314-801-9195

Additionally, you can log onto to expedite your request online. Choose the blue tab at the top labelled Veterans' Service Records. On that page, the first box says "Request Military Service Records". Choose the first bullet point: Request Service Records Online.

Next, click the blue button on the left that reads, "Start Request Online". Here is a shortcut for your convenience:

You can Make A New Request or Check The Status Of An Existing Request. You can also call to check the status once your request has been submitted and you've allowed some time for processing. You can call the NPRC Customer Service Line at 314-801-0800. Please note, the call is NOT toll-free and may be long distance for most callers.

If you are needing to request records for a family member who has passed away, you must be a surviving spouse, parent, child, or sibling of the veteran. Please follow directions above to contact the National Personnel Records Center using the Form SF180, write a letter, or visit the NPRC in person at 1 Archives Dr., St. Louis, MO 63138.

If you are a family member needing help as you plan a veteran burial in a VA National Cemetery, please call 1-800-535-1177.

Don't get overwhelmed by the VA claim process. It can feel daunting, especially if your service ended some time ago. If you're looking for assistance to file for the first time, or your ready to re-file your claim for reassessment or additional benefits, call our team to see if we can help. Our benefits specialists and case managers are largely veterans, military spouses, and previous VA employees. We will help you determine up front if our services could help you finally receive the benefits you have earned. Call 1-888-482-2524 (888-4-VA-CLAIM).


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