In most cases where a veteran wants to obtain a replacement DD214 to use for a VA loan, the GI Bill, government hiring you do not need to pay any fee to a third party.

Free vs. Fee Based Replacement Copies

You rarely need to pay for a DD214

There are plenty of reasons why you might need to contact the National Archives National Personnel Records Center to request a replacement copy of your DD Form 214. Naturally, the most common reason is to replace a lost or damaged copy of the original DD214.

A simple lack of information is the reason some veterans and their families wind up paying a fee to get the DD214, which is usually available for free. If you do a Google search on the DD214, some of your search results will include sites offering you a replacement copy of your DD214 for a fee-between $60 and$150 or more.

This service is not needed in most cases where a veteran wants to obtain a replacement DD214 to use for a VA loan, the GI Bill, government hiring where Veteran's Preference Points could be awarded or any other program where the DD Form 214 is required as proof of service and honorable discharge.

The National Archives does sometimes require a fee for services in some cases, but overall veterans and their families should not have to pay. For most of these purposes the fee charged by third party websites is unnecessary.

Does that mean that all sites that charge fees for such services are rip-offs?

Not necessarily. As mentioned above, veterans and their families normally don't have to pay to get a DD214. But in the case of research-based needs, there are legitimate companies that offer help in reconstructing service records and tracing the history of a military member when other records aren't complete or available.

A family doing genealogy research, for example, might benefit from such research services to track down information on a deceased veteran's background. A veteran who served prior to World War II might have incomplete records, or the original service records may have been accidentally destroyed by fire.

In such cases, DD214 retrieval may be part of a larger service that is included in the fee, and as such not an unnecessary expense. When choosing such research services it's important to do plenty of homework—choose a third party carefully after investigating its background, history in the business, and its standing with the Better Business Bureau. Don't make an uninformed choice-find a reputable company to help you in your efforts.