While a DMDC search could be free, depending on the information you have, you get what you pay for. The Defense Manpower Data Center, a branch of the Department of Defense, is one resource for military status records.
Several other resources are available for verification of military status under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act as well. Those resources range from the bare minimum to all-inclusive. The main considerations are whether the end product will protect you in a court of law, and if you can be sure that you won’t have to start all over because there is a problem with what you received.
The Department of Defense is free, but has its limitations. If you do not supply either the individual’s Social Security number or date of birth, the DoD will not reply.
If you supply only the date of birth, the DMDC search certificate will include a broad disclaimer. In effect, it will say, “The DoD does not guarantee the results of this certificate because you did not supply a Social Security number, which is the only, true, unique identifier for military service.”
If you present a certificate like this to a court, there is a likelihood that the court will react by asking why it should rely upon a certificate that says that it isn’t guaranteed. If the court tosses out your certificate, you may have to start the process all over again. Time and opportunity will be lost.
The DoD can issue certificates, but it will not issue affidavits — raised-seal, notarized documents often required by the courts.
DMDC Search Fees
You can also write a letter to each branch of the military (Army, Navy, etc.) and include a check for $5.20 to each asking for a response. This is not only cumbersome and time-consuming, but it is probably also destined to fail. The Army, for example, has indicated it simply does not have the resources to respond. You will have wasted weeks on this wild goose chase.
On the very lowest level of the spectrum are sites that simply sell blank forms to fill in. There is nothing to guarantee that your particular court will be satisfied with such a form. Also, you would still have to do the research to fill in the information, and most sites that do the research for you do supply the documents for the same price. So why bother just buying a blank form?
At the highest end of the spectrum is a service provider such as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service (SCRACVS).
This one-stop shop does only one thing and we do it well: We take your information, massage it, do the research and report back the military status. And we are set up to issue affidavits! You do not need to have the person’s Social Security number (but it helps if you do). You do not have to have the person’s birth date. This is because the SCRACVS can accept different information such as the person’s address, phone number, relatives’ names, etc. With this information, the SCRACVS can usually find the Social Security number and submit it to the DoD to get a firm response, with no disclaimer.
Inexpensive and Cost Efficient
The attorneys, lenders, and litigants who use SCRACVS appreciate its quick turnaround time and attention to detail. Often people are surprised that they can actually speak to a human being (or chat online) to get answers. If you think you will get that same, personalized attention at the Department of Defense, good luck.
The SCRACVS charges a flat $36.40. The only add-on is an optional affidavit for $20. We can even send the affidavit by Fedex if you select that option.
There is full tracking online, so you can track your orders.
If you cannot supply a Social Security number and the SCRACVS cannot find enough to do an SCRA verification, you can get a full refund. There is no risk. Here is detailed comparison among the various service providers.
As of the time of this article, the SCRACVS has performed more than 2,700,000 verifications. Our clients recognize the value of the service, the time savings, and the peace of mind that this important verification process will be done once, quickly, and it will be done correctly.
It’s the tried-and-true resource of choice.