The military has many different ways of classifying discharges depending on the circumstances surrounding a veteran’s departure from military service. The type of discharge a veteran receives can impact his or her eligibility for a variety of state and federal benefits. In order to be eligible for most benefits a veteran must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. There are some differences in the terminology used by state or federal agencies and the military branches themselves when referring to types of discharges.
Veterans or their families may obtain replacements for lost medals or other decorations awarded to the veteran by submitting appropriate documentation to the veterans branch of service. There is generally no charge for replacement medals or other awards.
There are many reasons you may need copies of your military records. If you are filing a claim with the VA, any record of traumatic events, injuries, and medical treatment you received during your service can be helpful. If you are applying for veterans’ preference, a tax exemption, or other state and federal benefits you will probably need a copy of your discharge papers (Form DD-214). If you are a spouse or dependents of a veteran you will probably also need a record of the veteran’s military service and documentation of your relationship to the veteran such as a marriage or birth certificate.
There are many different types of military records. The following is a list of some of the most common records and how to obtain them. This is not an exhaustive list. If you have a complicated VA claim or issue with trying to upgrade your discharge there may be other records available that can be helpful.
Citizenship for Military Personnel and Family Members
Non-U.S. citizens serving in the armed forces and their dependents may be eligible for U.S. citizenship. To obtain information on citizenship or other immigration issues, such as permanent residence (“green cards”) visit http://www.uscis.gov/military.
Servicemembers and their families may also contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Military Help Line for immigration-related information: 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645).