Veterans will often be asked to provide proof of military service when applying for benefits such as a VA home loan or training and education opportunities under the Forever GI Bill. The most requested document is the DD214, but it can get a little confusing when deciding exactly which copy you need.

How many different copies are there?

There are eight original copies of the DD Form 214 (also known as the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) and each has a specific purpose. Let’s start with the three most important copies: the Member 4 Copy, the Member 1 Copy, and the Service 2 Copy.

The Member 4 Copy is the original DD214 provided to servicemembers upon separation or discharge from the military—typically along with a Member 1 Copy, which is a shorter version of the Member 4 Copy.

You may also hear the Member 4 Copy called the long-form, unedited, or undeleted copy, while the Member 1 Copy is sometimes referred to as the short-form, edited, or deleted copy because it lacks certain information found on the Member 4 Copy (specifically, the type of separation or discharge and the re-enlistment code).

Like the Member 4 Copy, the Service 2 Copy contains all of the necessary information to show proof of military service and honorable discharge. And, like all copies of the DD214, with the exception of the shortened Member 1 Copy, the Service 2 Copy is an exact copy of the Member 4 Copy and all you will need to provide proof of service for post-discharge benefits and entitlements.

The remaining DD214 copies are delivered to the VA and various state and federal agencies. Copy 3 (Veterans Affairs 3) is mailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Copy 5 (Department of Labor 5) is mailed to the U.S. Department of Labor, and Copy 6 (Member 6) is sent to the veteran’s State Department of Veterans Affairs. Copies 7 and 8 (Service 7 and Service 8) are simply additional copies of the Service 2.

What if someone specifically asks me for a Member 4 Copy?

It is important to remember that veterans do NOT need a Member 4 Copy to show proof of service in any situation—nor can anyone but the government provide a Member 4 Copy to a former servicemember.

Why are veterans sometimes asked for a Member 4 Copy? It could be because the requesting party (such as a VA mortgage lender) does not have a clear understanding of each copy and its specific use, but the more likely reason is because the VA has issued an incorrect (and often confusing) statement saying that servicemembers need to provide a Member 4 Copy.

The bottom line is this: If you are being asked to provide proof of service to determine your eligibility to receive veteran-specific benefits, a Service 2 Copy will always suffice.

What happens if I lose my (original) Member 4 Copy?

While the military does not provide a replacement Member 4 Copy, it does keep the Service 2 Copy on file in each former servicemember’s record. This is the copy you are requesting when you order your DD214 from

Lucky for you, DD214Direct can deliver your DD214 faster and with fewer headaches than if you tried to go it alone.

Veteran-owned DD214Direct helps you get the documents you need, when you need them.

Our cutting-edge technology platform and keen knowledge of government protocol and procedure allow us to deliver your documents faster than competitors. We physically stand in line at the records repository and manually coordinate your order, freeing up your time and easing your worries about whether or not you will get your DD214. Much like paying a small fee to have your taxes done by a professional, DD214Direct provides the service and convenience you’ve been hoping for, plus we make it a lot easier.

Instead of having to download, print, sign and fax your document request form, you can submit your order directly through our website with the ease of e-signature technology from a desktop, laptop or mobile device. Once we locate your DD214, we will email you a copy immediately—a service not offered by the government. And tracking your request through us is simple, so you never have to worry about long hold times and inconclusive answers.

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