How to Verify Military Service

How to Verify Military Service
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The question about how to verify military service comes up quite a bit. Although we have discussed this in previous posts, here is a guide to help walk you through the process.

There are two ways to verify military service, depending on whether the person is an active member of the military or a veteran. Given that the active military service verification is a quick and easy online service, your best bet is to start there.

Verifying Military Service of an Active Service Member

The Department of Defense Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) website provides information relating to active-duty status for military members.

The site is free to the public, provided that you have some basic information regarding the individual. In order to search the site, you must provide the individual’s Social Security number or the date of birth and last name of the service member. If you do not have the Social Security number, however, you will get a response that says that you can not rely on the response because you did not supply a SSN.

Once the request has been processed, the website will provide an SCRA certificate reporting the active-duty status for the individual. The report will give the active-duty start date, the active-duty end date and the service position.

The website will only provide information on active-duty military members or members who have left active duty within the past 367 days. All other requests must be submitted to the National Personnel Records Center.

Verifying Military Service of a Veteran

There are more than 70 million former military records for veterans stored at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The records are available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.

The general public can access military personnel records by completing Standard Form 180. Some of the information that must be given includes the name of the veteran, the service number or Social Security number, the branch of service, the date(s) of service and the date of birth. It has been our experience that the dates of service are helpful but not necessary.

The completed form can be sent via mail or fax to the records center. Although more detailed information is available to next of kin and other authorized parties, only a limited amount of information can be released to the general public. Typically, the information released includes rank, dates of services and where the individual in question was stationed.

Response time varies, but it has been our experience that requests are typically returned within 10 business days.

Comments

  1. Lourie says

    I just learned by father is a veteran…he died a few years ago and I never knew. He has 3 social security numbers. Where do I start with that???

  2. Mary says

    The Record Center in St. Louis had a huge fire years ago. Many records were permanently destroyed. This was before the days of personal computers. Records may not be recovered.

    • Brian Willingham says

      Thanks for the comment Mary. There was a fire that destroyed a number of records, but in my personal experience with the hundreds of requests that I have sent in, I have never had a problem.

  3. says

    This article is correct and I offer one point of clarification: if you do not have the SSN for the person, the Dept. of Defense’s website will be of little use because any answer will come with a caveat that the results are not guarantied because only the SSN will result in a clear, trustworthy answer. In the event you do not have the SSN, an excellent, inexpensive resource to determine active military duty status verification is the SCRACVS (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service) at http://www.ServicemembersCivilReliefAct.com (also at http://www.SCRA.com). The SCRACVS will usually be able to supplement your information with the SSN so that the results serve as a good foundation for an affidavit. Better yet, the SCRACVS can also supply an affidavit that all courts accept.

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