What Is VA Form DD214?

By Cindy Wynn J.D.

To qualify for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), veterans must provide proof of military service. One form that provides this proof is the DD214, the current form used by the military to evidence a separation from military service.

History

The DD214 is the current form used by the military to prove separation from active duty military service. Prior to January 1, 1950, several other forms were used, including WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO 53-55, NAVPERS 553, NAVMC 78PD and NAVCG 553. People who ended their military service before 1950 may have one of these forms rather than a DD214.

Significance

The DD214 provides evidence of military service, which may be necessary to obtain VA benefits, employment, retirement and membership in veterans' organizations.

Features

The DD214 contains information about the veteran's military service, including dates of active duty, military education, medals and awards, the date of separation and the type of separation. The DD214 also displays the holder's status with the Reserves or National Guard.

Considerations

Some DD214s are public record. The state of Washington has passed a law exempting veteran records from public disclosure. The Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act must be balanced to provide privacy to the veteran while allowing the public access to some information.

Warning

Prior to 1974, DD214s contained numeric codes that characterized a soldier's conduct. These codes referenced behavior relating to drugs, homosexuality, misconduct and perceived mental or moral issues. Even if a veteran received an honorable discharge, he might be refused employment based upon such codes.

About the Author

Cindy Wynn is a former attorney who became a freelance writer after teaching a speech class at a local community college. Wynn holds a bachelor's degree in English and a Juris Doctor. She is currently working toward her master's in English.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article