How to Apply and Application Assistance
Provided below is information and links regarding benefits and services potentially available to you. We strongly recommend, if you are considering requesting services or submitting an application to the VA, that you contact your County Veterans Service Office. Their Service Officers specialize in assisting veterans and their family members with claims, applications, and appeals to the VA.
Please visit our County Veterans Service Offices web page to obtain your County Veterans Service Office\'s contact information.
Archival vs Federal (non-archival) Military Records
The opening of these records is part of the ongoing transfer of all OMPFs from the ownership of the military services to the legal custody of NARA, 62 years after the service member's separation from the military. Separation from service is defined as discharge, retirement or death in service based on a rolling date. For example, if today's date is January 1, 2016, then the discharge, retirement or date of death must be January 1, 1954 or before for the record to be considered archival. Archival records are no longer the property of the agencies that created them, in this case the Military Service Departments, but are records of the National Archives, open to the general public. See Archival Records to access these records.
Records of individuals who left service less than 62 years ago are non-archival and are maintained under the Federal Records Center program. Federal (non-archival) OMPFs are subject to access restrictions, and only limited information or copies of documents from these records may be released to the general public within the provisions of the law. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act provide balance between the right of the public to obtain information from military service records and the right of the former military service member to protect his/her privacy. See Federal Records Center Program to access these records.
Based on a rolling date of 62 years, all military personnel records will eventually become archival records, open to the general public.
Records may be found at the National Archives
National Guard Records
The Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs holds military personnel records for Army and Air National Guard. To learn more please visit their Archives web page.
Military Records / DD214 / Medals
How do I get my Military Records, DD214 and/or medals?
Veterans, who listed Colorado for storage of DD214, can obtain a copy by calling 303-284-6077. Veterans can also get free recording and certified copies of public records for veteran-related purposes, including birth, marriage, death, and divorce decrees by contacting your local County Recorder's Office.
Veterans military records including medical history are maintained by the National Personnel Records Center- Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR), not the Department of Defense. The NPRC-MPR is the repository of millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century. (Records prior to WWI are in Washington DC). NPRC-MPR also stores medical treatment records of retirees from all services, as well as records for dependent and other persons treated at naval medical facilities. Information from the records is made available upon written request (with signature and date) to the extent allowed by law.
If you are a veteran or next-of kin of a deceased veteran, you may now use vetrecs.archives.gov to order a copy of your military records. For all others, your request is best made using a Standard Form 180. It includes complete instructions for preparing and submitting requests. Please Note: All requests must be in writing, signed and mailed to us at the address shown below. If you are the next of kin, provide proof of relation to the Veteran (i.e. birth certificate and/or marriage certificate along with the death certificate of the Veteran).
National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63138
Standard Form 180
The Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records (SF180) is used to request information from military records. Click the link below to download.
Form SF 180
How do I Review/Update my Military Discharge?
There is a popular myth that a discharge will automatically upgrade after six months. In order to receive an upgrade the veteran must apply for and receive the upgrade from the Department of Defense. The review and decision process takes approximately two years. Veteran can request a review and upgrade immediately after discharge. However, after 15 years, upgrades can no longer be granted. Instead, a veteran may request a correction to military records.
If the discharge was 0-15 years ago you can apply for a discharge upgrade.
Fill out DD Form 293 and send to the appropriate military department
If the discharge was more than 15 years ago you must file for a correction of military records.
Fill out DD Form 149 and send to the appropriate military branch
Note that this process can take up to two years to complete.
DOD agrees to change bad discharges for Vietnam and other Veterans with PTSD
The Department of Defense will reconsider the discharges of Vietnam Veterans who may have suffered PTSD and were discharged before PTSD was diagnosed. PTSD was not recognized by the medical profession until the 1980s. Veterans form Vietnam and other past wars who received Other-than-Honorable discharges may seek correction of their military records if they can provide a PTSD diagnosis that existed at the time of service. Upgraded discharges may result int he restoration and opportunity for Veterans to obtain benefits. Note, the guidance from the Pentagon is focused on Veterans with low-level misconduct and is unlikely to affect Veterans who were court-martialed for serious misconduct. The Pentagon's goal is to address those who suffered from a legitimate disorder without eroding the respect derived from honorable service.
To learn more, please view DoD Releases Clarifying Guidance to Veterans Regarding Discharges and Military Records.
Operation recognition is a program to award high school diplomas to deserving and qualified World War II, Korea, and Vietnam era Veterans. Operation Recognition is authorized by Colorado State Law and is offered by the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Association of School Boards. The program operates on a voluntary basis among those High Schools.
This is a program providing high school diplomas to the veterans who left school to defend freedom. What started out as only a vision and a promise to honor and thank the veterans who were former high school students who left school to serve our nation in her time of need has become a national program titled Operation Recognition. Operation Recognition honors the individuals who are the true heroes and real patriots of our country. One day these individuals were carrying textbooks and the next they were carrying weapons in order to protect our nation and preserve our freedom. The sacrifices they made changed their lives and teenage experiences, and in turn, made ours better. A WW II veteran was quoted as saying, Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first and the lesson afterwards. Each and every veteran obtained experience the hard way and then learned the lessons of life
Upon request a diploma may be awarded to the honorably discharged veteran or veteran's family member if requesting posthumously if he/she:
- Served in the Armed forces: WWII, Korea, Vietnam
- DD214 with character of discharge
- Is at least 60 years of age
- Has not received a high school diploma (may hold a GED)
- At the time of making the request, resides within the school district or
- At the time of leaving High School to serve in the U.S. armed forces, resided within the school district.
- Copy of Honorably Discharged paper
Applications should be submitted to your local County Board of Education.
Presidential Memorial Certificates
Presidential Memorial Certificates (41A1C) are beautiful documents signed by the President in office.
To order a PMC, send a letter with proof of the Veterans honorable discharge from service/DD214. There is no longer a specific form to request the certificate however VA Form 40-0247 may be used. There is no time limit for requesting a PMC.
U.S. Department of Veterans affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903