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Discharge Documents


Discharge documents refer to the official paperwork provided to veterans upon their release from military service. These documents contain important information like the reason for discharge, service dates, and the individual’s service history. They are essential for veterans to access VA benefits and services.

Key Takeaways

  1. Discharge Documents are essential records that verify a veteran’s military service history, proving eligibility for various VA benefits.
  2. These documents may include DD Form 214, Report of Separation, or other official, comparable documents that contain information such as terms of service, reason for discharge, and character of service.
  3. Submitted discharge documents should be accurate and complete in order to process and obtain VA benefits such as education, home loans, and disability compensation.


Discharge Documents are crucial to veterans as they serve as the primary evidence of a veteran’s military service.

These records provide essential information, such as the nature, dates, and any honors or special circumstances associated with their service.

For VA benefits eligibility, the Discharge Documents, including the DD Form 214 (Report of Separation), are required to verify the veteran’s service record and to determine the type of discharge they received.

A favorable discharge status, such as Honorable or General, is necessary for a veteran to access a wide range of benefits, healthcare, education support, and other resources provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Consequently, accurate and readily available Discharge Documents are essential for veterans to seamlessly claim and receive the assistance they deserve for their service to the nation.


Discharge Documents play a crucial role in the lives of veterans after they have completed their service in the military. The primary purpose of these documents is to provide official proof of an individual’s military service, particularly the nature of their discharge (honorable, general, or other) and their service period.

In many cases, these documents serve as the cornerstone for accessing various benefits associated with the veteran status, including but not limited to healthcare, education, and housing support. Furthermore, discharge documents act as an essential tool for transitioning successfully from the military to civilian life, as they directly impact and facilitate access to a range of services for former service members.

For veterans, possession of these discharge documents is vital to tap into the various assistance programs offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as well as other federal and state organizations. Discharge documents enable veterans to demonstrate eligibility and receive benefits, including the GI Bill, VA home loans, disability compensation, and burial allowances, among others.

Additionally, these documents can also prove useful while seeking civilian employment, as they provide potential employers with a clear record of past military service and any commendations, skills, or specialized training acquired during that time. In summary, discharge documents are invaluable for veterans as they bridge the gap between military service and civilian life, unlocking numerous benefits and opportunities in the process.

Examples of Discharge Documents

Discharge documents are official records that prove your service in the military and your separation or discharge status. These are crucial for veterans when applying for various VA benefits. Here are three real-world examples of discharge documents:

DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty): This is the most common discharge document and is issued to all military service members when they separate from active duty service. It contains information about the veteran’s military service, such as the dates of service, type of discharge, character of service, awards, and any reenlistment codes. DD Form 214 is a critical document when applying for VA benefits, including education benefits, home loans, disability compensation, and health care.

NGB Form 22 (Report of Separation and Record of Service): This discharge document is issued to National Guard members separating from active service. Similar to the DD Form 214, the NGB Form 22 contains information about the veteran’s time in the National Guard, type of discharge, and character of service. It is also essential for obtaining VA benefits.

WD AGO (War Department Adjutant General’s Office) Form: These discharge documents were issued to World War II-era veterans. They are equivalent to the modern DD Form 214 and include pertinent information about a veteran’s military service, such as dates of service, character of service, and details of awards and decorations received. Veterans or their families who need these documents for VA benefits can request a free copy through the National Archives.In all cases, it is crucial for veterans and their families to retain copies of discharge documents, as they are critical for accessing various VA benefits.

FAQ Section: Discharge Documents

What are discharge documents?

Discharge documents are official records provided by the military upon a service member’s separation from active duty. These documents contain important information, including the type of discharge, dates of service, and service member’s achievements during their time in the military.

Why are discharge documents important for VA benefits?

Discharge documents are necessary for determining eligibility for various VA benefits, such as disability compensation, education benefits, and home loan guarantees. The type of discharge and service history listed in these documents helps the VA assess which benefits a veteran may qualify for.

What is a DD Form 214 and why is it important?

The DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, is the most common discharge document and carries significant importance for veterans. It summarizes the veteran’s military career, including their type of discharge, service dates, and any awards or recognitions received. This information is required when applying for most VA benefits and services.

How can I request a copy of my discharge documents?

Veterans or their next-of-kin can request copies of discharge documents by submitting a request through the National Archives’ eVetRecs online portal or by mailing a completed Standard Form 180 (SF-180) to the National Personnel Records Center. It is important to provide as much information as possible in your request to ensure a timely response.

What if my discharge documents are incorrect or incomplete?

If you find errors or omissions in your discharge documents, you can request corrections or updates by submitting a DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military Record. Be sure to provide relevant documentation or evidence to support your request, such as performance evaluations, medical records, or sworn statements from fellow service members who witnessed the events in question.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • DD Form 214: Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
  • Report of Separation Papers
  • Notice of Separation: Pre-1950s Version of Discharge Papers
  • General Discharge: Less Favorable Discharge Status
  • Honorable Discharge: Favorable Discharge Status

Sources for More Information