The perks the military provides are invaluable. They are merited and gained by effort. However, veterans can only participate in the various benefit schemes once they provide proof of military service. These rules are in place to safeguard the people who have worked hard to gain these privileges and to stop others from stealing them without proper compensation.
This article’s goal is to educate veterans, employees, and volunteers at veterans organizations, and the general public on the best practices for verifying a veteran’s military service for the purposes of ensuring that the veteran receives the benefits to which they are entitled.
Ways of Verifying Military Status
A variety of formal and informal channels exist to verify military service. A list of documents that can be used to verify military service should be available from each government agency and veterans service group.
Documentation for Discharge
For starters, it might be hard to tell if someone is telling the truth. This isn’t an effort to disprove a lie. To this end, we intend to provide assistance in establishing service records for veterans. When active duty service member completes their military service, they are given a DD Form 214. (a DD Form 215 is a corrected version of a DD Form 214, and should also be accepted as a valid record of service). Although a DD Form 214 is meant to be issued to the veteran on the day of separation, I’ve heard from numerous veterans that they were not handed one on that day and instead received it in the mail at a later date. This suggests that the forms were sent out rather soon after the member left.
Most homeless veterans probably won’t have their paperwork with them at all times, and it’s easy for them to get lost or damaged. We will also discuss scenarios in which a service member would not have access to their DD Form 214.
It’s possible the veteran might gain assistance from someone at your group, the VA, or another veteran’s organization in acquiring this paperwork.
Reserve Members’ Service Documentation
When a member of the Reserves leaves the service, they often receive a DD Form 256. Veterans of the National Guard or Air National Guard may have an NGB Form 22 or NGB Form 22-a (corrected version). Other forms of documentation, such as a state-issued discharge, may exist for former National Guard troops. However, the NGB Form 22 is the standard proof of service form.
Obtaining Copies of Military Documents
The National Archives is the primary repository for military records, albeit this is not entirely accurate. It is expected that these records can be obtained via a request for military records. Unless the person served before World War I or was recently discharged, this is the first place to look for military service records.
Military records are often only released to the individuals or their next of kin. The public, however, can often get verification of military service under the FOIA. Through this process, the requester will be granted access to specific parts of their military service record, but not the complete file. However, the information available to the public will include the service member’s name, rank, the branch of service, dates of service, and possibly other details, which is more than enough to prove military service. This blog can help you in obtaining a certificate for military service.
Alternative Methods of Verifying Military Service
Official evidence of service documents includes DD Forms 214, 215, 256, NGB Form 22, and others like them. These are the forms that veterans will need to fill out to apply for benefits from the VA and other government agencies. Important veteran benefits such as the GI Bill, a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility, VA healthcare, veterans’ burial benefits, and more require one of these applications.
But veterans shouldn’t feel they need to carry about one of this official paperwork like a flash card every time they get asked to verify their military service. In many circumstances, a less formal approach to proving service should be sufficient, and veterans can use alternative means to do so.
Among the most popular means by which veterans can attest to their military service are the following:
- Identification Card for Military Service (active duty, National Guard, Reserves, IRR, or retiree). Schedule an appointment at a RAPIDS ID center to get a new military ID card.
- Veterans Health Care ID Card Issued by the VA (starting Nov. 2017)
- Having a Veteran’s Designation on Your Driver’s License
- Validation of Membership in the Veteran’s Group
With the exception of Veterans Group Membership cards, all of the aforementioned options necessitate the completion of official documents before the corresponding ID card can be provided. Official documentation of military service, such as a DD Form 214 or equivalent, may be required for membership in certain groups. However, this is not the case for every one of these communities.
It is up to the discretion of each individual agency to decide whether or not to accept any of the aforementioned identification methods. In order to receive formal VA benefits, for instance, you’ll need a DD Form 214 or its equivalent. It’s the rule, and it almost never gets broken. This also includes several states and federally sanctioned veteran benefits. However, if you need to establish your military service for anything less formal, like a discount or club membership, the following ways should be acceptable.