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Replacement Medals


Replacement medals refer to the process of obtaining new copies of military service medals, decorations, or awards that were previously earned and awarded to a veteran. These replicas are meant to replace lost, stolen, or damaged original medals. Veterans or their next of kin can request replacement medals from the respective military branch’s service personnel records division.

Key Takeaways

  1. Replacement Medals are awarded to veterans or their family members as a substitute for lost, damaged, or stolen medals that represent the veteran’s military service.
  2. The National Personnel Records Center is responsible for issuing replacements for military awards and decorations, which can be requested through completing the appropriate form – Standard Form (SF) 180.
  3. It is noteworthy that there is no charge for replacement medals when requested through the proper channels, ensuring that veterans and their families have the tangible recognition they deserve for their service and sacrifices.


Replacement Medals is an important term in the context of VA benefits as it refers to the provision of replacing lost, stolen, or damaged military awards and decorations earned by veterans during their service.

These medals hold great sentimental and historical value, symbolizing the recognition of the veterans’ courage, sacrifices, and achievements in serving their country.

Ensuring that veterans can obtain replacements for their earned medals not only allows them to preserve their personal and family histories but also contributes to honoring their service and maintaining their well-deserved sense of pride.


The purpose of the Replacement Medals program within the VA benefits system is to honor, acknowledge, and represent the service of veterans who have served their country. Throughout their service, many military personnel receive medals that signify their bravery, courage, and dedication to their duty. Over time, these medals may become lost, damaged, or worn out, which can be disheartening to the veteran and their family.

The Replacement Medals program aims to rectify this issue by allowing veterans or their next of kin to request replacements for original medals that may have been lost or damaged. By doing so, the program maintains a tangible connection to the veteran’s service and ensures that their achievements and sacrifices are not forgotten. Replacement Medals are not only meant to provide a physical representation of a veteran’s service but also to strengthen the bond between the veteran, their families, and their communities.

These medals serve as a reminder of the significant contributions made by those who have served in the military. The process of procuring replacement medals helps reinforce a sense of pride and accomplishment for veterans as well as offering an opportunity for the next generation to learn about the military history and traditions associated with their family members. Furthermore, in some instances, the medals can even be utilized by veterans to access certain benefits and services based on their military service and achievements.

Overall, the Replacement Medals program plays a vital role in preserving the memory and significance of a veteran’s service to their nation.

Examples of Replacement Medals

The VA Benefits term “Replacement Medals” refers to the process through which veterans or their families can request replacement of lost, damaged, or stolen military service medals, decorations, and awards. Here are three real-world examples of situations in which individuals might seek replacement medals:

Natural Disaster: A veteran’s home is destroyed by a hurricane, causing them to lose all their military medals and awards. To honor their service and replace these lost treasured items, the veteran or their family can request replacement medals from the National Archives or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Theft: A veteran’s medals and decorations are stolen during a home burglary, along with other valuable items. As these items hold sentimental and historical value for the veteran and their family, they can request replacement medals through the VA or National Archives to restore this irreplaceable personal collection.

Passing of a Veteran: When a veteran passes away, their medals and awards might be misplaced or lost due to circumstances beyond the family’s control. As the family wants to honor the service member’s memory and pass down their military history to future generations, they can request replacement medals for lost items.

FAQ: Replacement Medals for VA Benefits

How can I request for replacement medals, awards, or decorations?

To request replacement medals, awards, or decorations, you can submit a request to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) using the Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. Alternatively, you can contact your branch of service.

Who is eligible to request for replacement medals?

Replacement medals can be requested by veterans or their next of kin. The next of kin includes a surviving spouse, eldest child, father, mother, eldest sibling, or eldest grandchild of the veteran.

Do I need to provide any documents when requesting replacement medals?

Yes, you need to fill out the Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, and provide any available supporting documentation such as discharge papers, DD214, or separation documents. If you do not have these supporting documents, the NPRC may still be able to process your request with sufficient information about the veteran’s service.

How long does it take to receive the replacement medals?

Processing time for replacement medals can vary depending on the complexity of the request and the availability of the veteran’s records. It could take several weeks to several months before receiving the medals. You may check the status of your request with the NPRC or your branch of service.

Is there any cost involved in obtaining replacement medals?

Generally, there is no cost involved in obtaining replacement medals for veterans and their next of kin. However, in some cases, there might be a nominal fee for replacement medals requested by other eligible recipients. It’s recommended to check with the NPRC or your branch of service for more information on any potential fees.

Can I request for replacement medals if the original ones were lost or damaged due to natural disasters?

Yes, you can request for replacement medals if the original ones were lost or damaged due to natural disasters such as floods, fires, or hurricanes. You will need to provide any available supporting documentation and follow the same process as for regular medal replacement requests.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)
  • Service Branches
  • Standard Form 180 (SF-180)
  • Awards and Decorations
  • Military Records

Sources for More Information