When applying for VA Aid and Attendance pension, the VA prefers either original or certified discharge papers (as a result of Covid, the VA is often accepting photocopies, but not in every case) also known as DD-214 and Report of Separation papers. The VA WILL NOT return papers submitted, so we do not recommend sending the original.
What if I do not have a certified copy of the discharge paperwork to submit with the VA application?
1) Order a free certified copy from the National Archives at www.archives.gov/veterans. Average delivery time can be anywhere from 1-3 months.
2) Order an expedited certified copy from DD214 Direct and use code VF5 for a 5% discount. You can also call 888-997-5146 and reference AidandAttendance.com to receive the 5% discount. The cost is $89 however much faster than the Archives. For a small additional charge, you can order full military records, not necessary for applying, but fascinating to read!
How can I get my original discharge papers certified?
1) Take the original discharge papers to a county courthouse and request the Recorder of Deeds or Office of the Prothonotary make a certified copy. Submit the certified copy with the application and keep the original. Call in advance to confirm the courthouse can create a certified copy.
2) Some Veterans Service Organizations (VFW, American Legion, etc.) are approved to make certified discharge papers. Call in advance to confirm they offer this service.
What if my claim is ready to submit and I do not have a certified copy yet?
We recommend that you submit your claim via fax (retain a fax confirmation to prove date of receipt). The VA may request a certified copy of the discharge papers which can slow down the approval time. If you fax your claim and do not have a certified copy, we recommend you order them from either the National Archives or DD214 Direct (see above) and mail it to the VA upon receipt. This may avoid future delays.