Claiming VA Loan Eligibility as a Surviving Spouse
Do I Need a DD214?
A military member on active duty or a retired/separated veteran can use military benefits such as a VA home loan or GI Bill, or choose to transfer some benefits to a family member. This is true in the case of the Post 9/11 GI Bill-the veteran can choose to let his spouse use the GI Bill instead.
But what about transferring benefits to a surviving spouse when the military member dies? When it comes to VA home loans, for example, a surviving spouse may be eligible to use the service member's VA loan eligibility under the right circumstances. In cases like these there are forms to fill out and documents to submit, including a copy of the deceased veteran's DD Form 214.
Naturally, if a military member dies on active duty, there is no DD214 to submit; but in cases where a veteran dies after retiring or separating from the military, the surviving spouse may apply for a VA loan if the veteran's death was due to a service-connected illness, injury, or disability. This is where having the DD214 is critical-the surviving spouse must provide the DD214 as part of the required paperwork to start the review process. The VA must determine that the cause of death was indeed service-connected, but the review can't begin until all paperwork has been submitted. That includes a death certificate and service records including the DD214.
Surviving spouses who can't locate the DD214 should immediately apply for a replacement. In the case of a recent retiree, records may still be en route to the National Archives in St. Louis and you may need to give the process a few additional weeks or months in such cases. If the service member has been retired for some time, your request for a replacement will be processed in the usual manner but may require extra time during peak periods.
You'll find detailed instructions on how to make and submit requests for replacement DD Form 214s here: www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/get-service-records.html
You can mail your request for a replacement DD214 to:
National Personnel Record Center:
NPRC Fax Number:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Before sending a request to the NPRC, read the instructions found at the NPRC official site and follow them exactly.
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