Service Records: Proving Your Eligibility

Active Duty and Active Duty Guard Members

Every time a service member is given medical care from a military medical facility, including the very first physical examination each one must take part in during the initiation stages of service, the specifics are documented in their military medical record.

Medical records are important for the VA offices as well because they use them as evidence when defining whether or not a medical condition was caused or worsened by service time.

In order for a Veteran to show they’re eligible for benefits, they must first present the Veterans Administration (VA) office with an official copy of their Department of Defense (DD) Form 214/215, or National Guard Form (NGB) 22/22A, which are some of the most significant documents issued by the military. They are a requirement for all VA business and inquiries in addition to several state and federal Veterans benefits programs.

DD Forms 214 and 215

For active-duty members and members of the Reserves, DD Forms 214 and 215 are considered documentation of military service. DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge, provides the VA with time in reserve and active duty, military job, awards, education, dates and locations the individual entered and left the military, military assignments, and reason for leaving the service and characterization of discharge. DD Form 215, on the other hand, records and corrects any mistakes that might be added to DD Form 214 after being delivered.

Is the NGB Form 22 the Same as a DD 214?

While the DD Forms 214/215 are designated for reserve and active duty service, the NGB forms 22/22A Report of Separation and Military Service are meant for those who served in the Army and Air National Guard.

Filing a Claim for Medical Benefits

The Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), held at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), are administrative records containing information about military service history. Many OMPFs contain both personnel and former active duty health records, but the service branches discontinued retiring the health record portion to the NPRC in the 1990s.

In the past, all of the military services retired the individual health record, along with the personnel record, to the NPRC upon a service member’s separation from service. The Army and the Air Force retired their health records with the Official Military Personnel File, while the Department of the Navy (including the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) retired these files separately to the NPRC until the 1980s.

Health records cover the outpatient, dental and mental health treatment that former members received while in military service. Health records include induction and separation physical examinations, as well as routine medical care (doctor/dental visits, lab tests, etc.) when the patient was not admitted to a hospital.

In comparison, clinical (hospital inpatient) records were generated when active duty members were actually hospitalized while in the service. Typically, these records are NOT filed with the health records but are generally retired to the NPRC by the facility which created them (see clinical records for more information). Medical records from the Department of Veterans Administration (VA) are also not included.

Getting Form Copies

The National Personnel Records Center will keep a copy of all active-duty and reserve military records. If you need one you can request any part of your military records so long as you submit a signed copy of SF Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records –  click to download.

How We Can Help?

As stated, medical records are essential, especially in making a disability claim. The forms and ability to navigate the VA can be overwhelming. At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we are experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate. And your first consultation is always free. Don’t struggle. Please contact the Jan Dils team at or call 877.526.3455. Or you can simply fill out this form and we will contact you shortly.


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