Discharge / Military Records

A picture of a DD Form 214 form on a wooden table.

Discharge Conditions



When a member of the Armed Forces is released from their obligation to serve, they receive a formal discharge which is identified on the DD-214 Certificate of Release or other separation documents.  There are five ways to characterize a discharge:

A picture of a DD Form 214 form on a wooden table.

DD Form 214, Discharge Papers and Separation Documents

A Certificate of Release or Report of Separation is generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. It is used to prove military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans' organizations.

Request Military Service Records or Prove Military Service

Service members and their families sometimes need to request new copies of the important records documenting military service, including the DD-214. 

It is very important to use the official Department of Defense records in proving eligibility for benefits.  Beware of private companies that advertise to get these records outside the usual process.  

The best way to request these documents is from the National Archives website  There is one process for the service member and a different one for family members and others.


The DD Form 293 must be filled out when you are requesting a review of the reasons for discharge.  Before completing this form, review the other legal education information on conditions of discharge.

If the discharge you want reviewed was issued over 15 years ago, you must petition the appropriate Board for Correction of Military Record using DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military Record.

GI Rights Hotline

Since 1994, the GI Rights Hotline has been providing free, confidential, and accurate information on US military regulations and practices to servicemembers, veterans, potential recruits, and their families.
We are a consortium of more than twenty non-governmental, non-profit organizations located in more than fifteen states and in Germany. Some of our counselors are veterans, some are lawyers and some have decades of military counseling experience. We are in constant contact with each other to stay up-to-date on the latest military regulations and practices.
We provide resources and counseling options. Many of us are not lawyers and therefore cannot give legal advice, but, in cases in which an attorney might be useful, we may be able to help you find one.

A photo of people, from the knees down, wearing camoflague uniforms and tan combat boots.

The American Veterans and Servicemembers Survival Guide

This detailed 600 page Veterans and Servicemembers Survival Guide was originally developed by Veterans for America and is now made available free of charge by the National Veterans Legal Services Program on their website. It was published in 2009 so more recent changes will not be included.
A picture of a DD Form 214 form on a wooden table.

Benefits at Separation

This is a quick summary of several important benefits. The chart shows whether you may qualify, based on your discharge status.
A blue x-ray style image of a person from the shoulders up. They are resting their head on their arm, and their brain is highlighted in red.

Discharge Problems Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury

Receiving either a bad conduct discharge or a personality disorder discharge can result in serious negative consequences for a person suffering from a TBI or PTSD .


Submitted by admin on Thu, 05/20/2010 - 16:52

JAG offices

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