Original Discharge papers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ktakacs, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. Ktakacs

    Ktakacs Newbie

    I am putting together an A & A application fro my 84 yr. old mom who is a widow of WWII Veteran. I have found my dad's discharge papers and am hesitant to send the original with the application. Can I send a notarized copy of the original discharge papers ? I am concerned that the government agencies won't loose them ... please advise....
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Send the notarized copy.
  3. pattyclarke

    pattyclarke Newbie

    I had the same concern and what I was told to do was take the original to my local veteran's office and have them make a copy and then certify it as a true and exact copy.
    It went smoothly. I got the impression the certified copy by the VA will carry more weight than a notary.

    Hope this helps,
    toxdoc49 and Kaiya like this.
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    You are correct. I was in a hurry and meant to say certified and not notarized.

    Thanks for jumping in on this.
  5. Ktakacs

    Ktakacs Newbie

    I am not sure I know the difference between certified and notorized. Where else can I get the papers certified other than the regional VA office. For me that is Boston and it could mean a whole day wandering halls and no one knwoing how to help me. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
  6. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

  7. AnnieN

    AnnieN Newbie

    Patty, according to the instructions for filling out a Form 21-526 (this is the application for a veteran) you can get the service records certified at your local courthouse. I did this with my Mom's DD214 and it worked like a charm. They were used to certifying military records and in our State they don't even charge for the service. The VA accepted the certification when I applied. Here's the section out of the instructions:

    Throughout this form, you will be asked to
    attach certain pieces of information to the form
    itself. For example, you are asked to attach a
    DD214 to your Form 21-526, Part A. The
    DD214 needs to be an original or certified
    copy, other documents do not. To get a
    certified copy, you can take your original to
    the courthouse and have it copied and signed
    by an official of the court. A VA employee
    can also "certify" a copy for you.
    Kaiya likes this.
  8. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    Thanks for sharing what worked for you. I'm sure others can benefit from this information.
  9. pattyclarke

    pattyclarke Newbie

    Yes, many ways to accomplish the task. I didn't go to the regional VA office, just a local facility close by such as a VA clinic etc. Whatever works.

  10. Ktakacs

    Ktakacs Newbie

    Already getting the run around. Called the county clerk's office... they would only notirize papers and transferred my call to the local veterans office. The woman there told me in no uncertain terms that I just needed to send a copy, "regular" copy. That's all they ever do for all the applications they file. She read me the instructions from her filing for A & A and didn't want to talk about certifying the papers. End of discussion ! At this point I am heading into Boston on my next day off and head into the Boston VA office and see if I can get this done.
    I will post how it went.

    Thanks for the assistance.
  11. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    It seems you encountered someone who is not interested in helping and is having a bad day. Sorry things did not go smoothly for you on this.

    Look forward to being updated on your trip to Boston.
  12. Ktakacs

    Ktakacs Newbie

    Took my dad's discharge papers to the regional office in Boston today. Took longer to go through security for the bldg than it did to get papers certified. Definitely need to be firm as to what you need... reception veteran service rep immediately responded to my request... " who told you you needed them certified ?" Calmly I stated the regional office in Philadelphia were I am sending the application.( little white lie). He proceeded to the copy machine, made 3 copies, did the official stamping and signing and I was out of there in less than 10 minutes. No one else in the office the entire time I was there on a Wednesday afternoon. Painless!! Now to begin the process with mom's internist. Filling out papers aren't high up on her radar screen I am sure.
  13. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Yeah going to the regional office (if you live close enough) is by far the best way to go about it. Especially because they can just update the system to show the service as verified. If the service is verified in the Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator System (BIRLS), then it isn't even necessary to submit discharge docs.
  14. Kaiya

    Kaiya Newbie

    Thank you all for sharing your information. Sounds like going to the local VA office or courthouse to get the discharge papers certified is preferable to using a notary.

    I have a situation where my Dad received a copy of his WWII discharge papers on July 2, 1986. I presume that the originals were lost. The documents include the Enlisted Record and Report of Separation - Honorable Discharge dated Dec 22, 1944; an Informal Information Report NA Form 13045 (9-85); and NA Form 13038, Certification of Military Service (9-85), dated July 2, 1986. The Informal Information form has the box checked:
    "X We are furnishing the attached NA Form 13038, Certification of Military Service. This will verify your military service and may be used for any official purpose."
    The Informal Information form also stated that the discharge document was of poor quality, hence the additional Certification form. The Certification form lists my Dad's name, serial number, branch of service, service dates, rank, and honorable discharge. This all looks good except at the very bottom, in tiny print, are the words "(This form is not valid without official seal.)" Looking at the scanned copy, an official seal is not visible.

    I'm hoping that the discharge form carries more weight than the certification of military service form, which doesn't appear to have a seal. My Dad's name, serial number, dates of service, place of discharge, his signature and the signature of the personnel officer are still clearly visible on the discharge form. The sections on Pay Data, Insurance Notice and Medals are partially obscured (white on a dark background). The form is dark with white letters.

    The issue is that my brother made a pdf copy of the documents but can't find the originals. Would the VA office accept a pdf file as the original, print a copy and certify the copy? What are our options, since requesting a new set of documents would take time?

    I have read and gained a lot of benefit from the forums. Thank you!
  15. toxdoc49

    toxdoc49 Jr. Member

    this is what I did as well with the originals
    Kaylin likes this.
  16. Dee Miller

    Dee Miller Newbie

    I just called my veteran's office and was assured I do not even need bring anything in except a copy, because my father's badly-crumbled one has somehow been lost. Spoke to the officer with several years' experience there. She says they send copies in without ever seeing the original all the time and it works fine. I assume they may certify the copy as legitimate.
    Kaylin likes this.
  17. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    Yes, they need to be certifed copies. But copies are what we recommend you send as well since you might not get the originals back.

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