One of the most important documents you will receive after you’ve been discharged from military service is the DD Form 214. Also known as DD214, this is your official military personnel file once you’re done serving in the US military. The DD Form 214 is issued by the US Department of Defense and is used for various purposes. The most essential function of this document is to help you claim VA benefits.
Given how pertinent your military records are to your post-military life, you should ensure that all information in your military record is accurate and updated. Unfortunately, there may be instances wherein there are errors in your form. These inaccuracies may affect your ability to claim certain benefits.
Fortunately, you can update your DD 214, even if you’ve already left military service. This article will discuss the proper steps to correct your military records.
- 1 Why Do You Need to Update DD214?
- 2 How to Update DD214 After Discharge
- 3 Alternative Methods For Updating DD214
- 4 How Long Does It Take to Update DD214?
- 5 Following Up on the Request
- 6 Conclusion
Why Do You Need to Update DD214?
Why should you push for a discharge upgrade or other changes to your DD 214 anyway? There may be changes in personal information, such as the appropriate address to send relevant correspondence. You must ensure the correction of military records to receive all mail sent by the military.
You may push for the correction of military records because of errors or omissions. A simple spelling error may affect your ability to claim your VA benefits. Thus, you should ensure that everything is correct.
Another reason to request a DD214 update is a discharge upgrade. If you received an “other than honorable” or “bad conduct” status and want an honorable discharge, you should request to fix your documents accordingly.
There are also instances wherein there is missing service information. For example, if you’ve served in the Coast Guard or the Air Force for more than six years and have been stationed in different bases, your military records should reflect where you’ve rendered service.
Regardless of your intention for the correction of military records, you can appeal to the appropriate discharge review board to update your records accordingly. You won’t have a problem updating your records if you follow proper protocol.
How to Update DD214 After Discharge
If you want to push for the correction of military records, you should follow these steps carefully:
Step 1: Obtain Necessary Documents
You need to provide supporting documents reflecting the changes you want to be made. Some examples of supporting materials you can submit include your birth certificate, court order, divorce decree, and social security card. You need to present sufficient evidence to justify your request. Thus, the more evidence you submit, the better.
It is relatively easy to obtain personal identification documents. You can request records from the appropriate government office. For example, if you need a social security card, you must contact the Social Security Administration.
In addition to these supporting documents, you should submit additional evidence that supports your request. You can submit proof, such as active duty orders, certificates, and awards, that show the changes you want your DD 214 to show. You should present as much evidence as possible for your request to be processed accordingly.
Step 2: Complete the Form DD-149 or DD Form 293
The DD-149 will ask you to detail information such as service branch, full name, social security number, mailing address, and separation information. You need to detail and justify the portions you’re requesting to be corrected in section 3. Please note that changes to your discharge status cannot be corrected through a DD Form 149. There’s another form for this type of request.
If your request pertains to your discharge status, you should complete a DD-293. This document will ask you to justify why you deserve to have your discharge status upgraded. Most veterans submit this request to receive veteran benefits. Discharge upgrades can take a while to be processed. Hence, you should provide as much evidence as you can to support your request.
It should be noted that the request for correction of military records must be sent within three years after the discovery of an alleged error or injustice. If you fail to submit your request in a timely manner, the Army or Navy Discharge Review Board may excuse failure to file within the prescribed time. In that event, you should be able to justify why there was a delay in the submission of the request.
Moreover, each military branch has its own discharge review board with the authority to change your discharge status as long as your discharge wasn’t a sentence of a general court-martial. However, the board has no authority to modify medical discharges.
If the discharge was over 15 years ago, the veteran should petition the appropriate service Board for Correction of Military Records using DoD Form 149. If requested, a discharge review can be conducted through a hearing before the board.
Step 3: Mail the Document to the Relevant Service Review Board
Where you send your request form and additional documents depends on which service branch you worked for. If you’re from the army, you should mail your request to
Army Board for Correction of Military Records
1901 South Bell Street, 2nd Floor
Arlington, VA 22202-4508
As an alternative, you can submit an online application via this website. The Army Review Board Agency will consider your request and will notify you by mail once they made a decision.
If you’re from the Air Force or Space Force, you may submit your DD Form 149 through the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records website. Alternatively, you may send it to:
Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records
3351 Celmers Lane
Joint Base Andrews, MD 20762-6435
Former Navy and Marine Corps members looking to update their naval records may submit the DD Form 149 and additional documents to:
Board for Correction of Naval Records
2 Navy Annex
Washington, DC 20370-5100
Meanwhile, if you’re from the Coast Guard, you should mail the documents to:
Department of Homeland Security
Office of the General Counsel
Board for Correction of Military Records
2707 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE Stop 0485
Washington, DC 20528-0485
Step 4: Check the Status of Your Request
It takes a few months to a year to have your request processed. If the Board for Correction hasn’t reached a decision on your request, you may contact the military branch accordingly. For requests to the Army Review Board Agency, you may send an e-mail request to [email protected].
For Air Force and Space Force members, you can check your status through this link. Navy and Marine Corps may call 703-604-6884 for assistance, while Coast Guard members may send an email to [email protected].
Alternative Methods For Updating DD214
Coordinate with a Veterans Service Organization (VSO)
You may also approach veterans service organizations to have your records updated. They have connections in each discharge review board to help you process your request.
Refer to Online Resources and Forums
Given that it takes a while for the NPRC to update records, you may request personnel information from online sources or drop questions on forum sites. These can help you obtain the information you need.
How Long Does It Take to Update DD214?
If your request pertains to a discharge upgrade, processing it may take up to a year. You should send as much evidence to discharge review boards to have your submission processed as soon as possible.
Following Up on the Request
How you follow up on your request depends on which service branch you worked for while you were on active duty. Army and Coast Guard members may send a follow-up request via email. If you’re from the Army, you should send a message to [email protected]. Meanwhile, Coast Guard members should send their requests to [email protected].
Air Force and Space Force service members have a dedicated website for requests. You may access this link for your request. Navy and Marine Corps members may follow up by calling 703-604-6884.
Given how vital your DD214 is after you’ve been discharged from the military, you should have your records updated as soon as you spot the inaccuracies. If you ensure all your details are correct, you won’t have a problem claiming your VA benefits or applying for government offices.
Updating your records is easy as long as you follow the proper steps. However, it may take some time for the request to be processed. That’s why you should update it as soon as possible. To learn more about military life and documents, explore Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service further.