Apply For Benefits
The first and most important step in applying for any veteran benefits is to have in your possession a copy of the veterans DD214 / discharge papers. A “Certificate of Service” is not the same as your discharge papers. A high percentage of veterans can’t find their discharge papers for any number of reasons.
Hopefully when the veteran was discharged they followed instructions and took their discharge paper to the County Clerk’s Office in the county where they reside and had it placed on file. If so, as a resident of Michigan any veteran of their authorized representative can get a certified copy of their DD214 / discharge paper free of charge to use for applying for their VA Benefits.
Other Ways to Get a Copy
If the veterans discharge paper is not on file with the County Clerk there are several other locations to apply for a copy:
- If the veteran was a resident of the State of Michigan prior to and after their military service, served during a war era, or was discharged after 1980, then view the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (PDF), go to page 7 and complete “Request for Record of Active Military Service” and mail / fax to them. If they have a copy, they can send to you, at no charge, a certified copy. Response time is usually a week to ten days.
- The next place to seek a copy of the veterans discharge paper is to complete SF180 (Standard Form 180) (PDF). This method requires a longer waiting period for response as they receive thousands of requests every day for duplicate DD 214 / discharge papers.
- Once a copy of the veterans discharge paper is secured, ensure a copy is placed on permanent file at the County Clerk’s Office where access to the DD214 / discharge paper will always be available.