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Assistance in Obtaining Service Records


Assistance in Obtaining Service Records refers to the aid provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans in acquiring their military documents. These records, which include details about their active duty service, are crucial to establish eligibility for various VA benefits. The VA helps veterans acquire these important service records, such as discharge papers (DD214), service treatment records, or records required for military pension purposes.

Key Takeaways

  1. Assistance in Obtaining Service Records refers to the support veterans and their families can receive in acquiring important military documents, such as the DD Form 214 and other service-related records, in order to access various benefits.
  2. The VA works with the National Archives’ National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) and other government agencies to help expedite the process of obtaining military records, especially when they are needed to claim VA benefits or services.
  3. Veterans can request assistance in obtaining service records online via the Veterans Affairs’ ebenefits.va.gov portal or the National Archives’ veterans.service.gov website, by mail, or in person at their local VA office.


Assistance in Obtaining Service Records is an important term in the context of VA benefits because it refers to the support provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans or their designated representatives in obtaining their military service records such as discharge papers, service treatment records, or personnel logs.

These records are crucial for establishing eligibility for a wide range of VA benefits, including healthcare, disability compensation, education, housing, and pension.

By offering assistance in obtaining service records, the VA facilitates a smoother and more efficient process for veterans to access and ultimately benefit from the resources and services that they are entitled to based on their service to the country.


Assistance in Obtaining Service Records is an invaluable service provided under VA benefits, designed to support veterans as they transition back to civilian life and access the various services they are eligible for. The primary purpose of this assistance is to help veterans secure their service records, which essentially hold information on an individual’s time in the military, including accomplishments, ranks, medals, and unit affiliation.

These records play a significant role in determining a veteran’s eligibility for various benefits and resources, such as healthcare, education, and housing, and also act as validation of their service to their country. The importance of Service Records extends beyond just establishing eligibility for benefits.

These records serve as a testament to a veteran’s personal and professional achievements during their time in the military, ensuring they receive the recognition they deserve for their service and sacrifices. Assistance in Obtaining Service Records proves to be an essential support system, providing resources and guidance to those who may face challenges in acquiring these records on their own.

By simplifying this process, veterans can focus more on successfully integrating into civilian life, ultimately enabling them to reach their full potential as valued members of society and unlock the benefits they rightfully deserve.

Examples of Assistance in Obtaining Service Records

World War II Veteran Searches for Unit History: A World War II veteran named John is seeking information about his service and unit history. He knows that he served in the 3rd Infantry Division during the Normandy Invasion. To obtain his service records and learn more about his experiences, John can contact the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to request copies of his service records, including his DD Form 214, which outlines his time in the military. The NPRC can provide John with crucial details about his service, such as specific battles, campaigns, and awards he received. In this way, VA Benefits assists John in obtaining his service records and gaining a deeper understanding of his military service.

Vietnam War Veteran Applies for Disability Compensation: Paul, a Vietnam War veteran, is suffering from diabetes mellitus, which he believes might be linked to his exposure to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam. To apply for VA benefits, including disability compensation, Paul needs to provide documentation proving his service in Vietnam, along with evidence of his exposure to Agent Orange. He can request a copy of his service records from the NPRC and the VA’s Agent Orange Registry. With these records, Paul can submit a claim for disability compensation, which may help him receive essential medical treatment and financial support.

Widow of Korean War Veteran Seeks Survivors Pension: Susan, the widow of a Korean War veteran named James, is seeking help to apply for the VA Survivors Pension. This benefit requires proof of her late husband’s military service and a valid marriage certificate. Susan does not have a copy of James’ DD Form 214 or other service records, making it difficult for her to apply for the pension. To obtain these records, Susan can request assistance through the VA Benefits, who can help her access her late husband’s records from the NPRC. With these records in hand, Susan can successfully apply for the Survivors Pension and receive financial support as the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran.

FAQ – Assistance in Obtaining Service Records

What are service records?

Service records are official documents that contain detailed information about a service member’s military career, including their enlistment, training, assignments, decorations, and discharge status.

Why would I need assistance in obtaining service records?

Obtaining service records can be a complex process, especially if you are unfamiliar with military records systems or have limited information about the veteran’s service history. Assistance in obtaining service records can help you navigate these systems and locate the information you need more efficiently.

How can I request assistance in obtaining service records?

To request assistance in obtaining service records, you can contact your local Veteran Service Organization (VSO), VA regional office, or the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA). They can help guide you through the process and assist you in submitting the necessary forms and documentation.

What information do I need to provide when requesting assistance in obtaining service records?

When requesting assistance in obtaining service records, you will generally need to provide basic information about the veteran, such as their full name, date of birth, Social Security number, and/or service number. Additionally, it would be helpful to know the branch of service, dates of service, and any relevant details about the veteran’s military career.

How long does it take to obtain service records?

The time it takes to obtain service records varies depending on the complexity of the request and the age of the records. Some requests can be processed within a few weeks, while others may take several months. It is important to begin the process as early as possible to ensure you have the information you need when you need it.

Are there any fees associated with obtaining service records?

In most cases, there are no fees associated with obtaining service records. However, there may be fees for certain services, such as obtaining certified copies of records or requesting expedited processing. Be sure to inquire about any potential fees when you request assistance in obtaining service records.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • DD Form 214: Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
  • National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)
  • Request Pertaining to Military Records (SF-180)
  • Military Service Verification
  • Replacement Medals and Awards

Sources for More Information