The Westchester County Veterans Service Agency recommends that all veterans who haven’t recorded their discharge papers with the County Clerk’s office do so. A discharge paper or DD-214 may be the only way of proving your eligibility for veterans’ benefits. If for some reason your originals are lost or destroyed it may take many months for you to obtain them from the National Personnel Records Center, whereas if you have them on file with the County Clerk, it may only take a matter of days.

Filing is free of charge and your papers are kept confidential. If you don’t have a copy of your discharge papers or service records, or have medals that were never issued or lost, the following should give you some needed information for securing those items.

What is a DD Form 214?
A Report of Separation is generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. The Report of Separation contains information normally needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans’ organizations. Information shown on the report of separation may include the service member’s:

  • Date and place of entry into active duty
  • Home address at time of entry
  • Date and place of release form active duty
  • Home address after separation
  • Last duty assignment and rank
  • Military job specialty
  • Military education
  • Decorations, medals, badges, citations, and campaign awards
  • Total creditable service
  • Foreign service credited
  • Separation information (type of separation, character of service, authority and reason for separation, separation and reenlistment eligibility codes)

How do I get a copy?

Veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation). Your request must contain certain basic information for your records to be located.

  • The veteran’s complete name used while in service
  • Service number
  • Social security number
  • Branch of service
  • Dates of service
  • Date and place of birth (especially if the service number is not known).
  • If you suspect your records may have been involved in the 1973 fire at the St Louis Record Center, you should also include place of discharge, last unit of assignmentand place of entry into the service, if known.

It’s also helpful if you can include the purpose or reason for your request, such as applying for veterans’ benefits, preparing to retire, or researching your personal military history.

If there is an emergency or deadline associated with your request, please explain this in the “Purpose” section of the SF-180 so that staff will fully understand the situation and can do their best to meet your priority.

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) normally responds to requests for Separation Documents (such as DD Form 214) in 20 working days. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 fire or older records, which require extensive search efforts, may take much longer (such as requests for your complete OMPF).