If you are a current member or a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, thank you for your service. Due to the respect and admiration the country and her citizenry have for current military members and veterans, as well as their dependents, there are a ton of benefits available to you. Of course, there are benefits specifically for you from the federal government, such as BAQ and Tricare, but there are also a slew of benefits that you'll find out on the economy, such as retailer and travel discounts. You have the ability to apply for VA loans and get an education, as well.
However, in order to take advantage of any of these benefits, you do need to have the proper identification to prove your eligibility as a member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. Here are several ways you can prove your service while out on the economy in addition to, or instead of, a military ID card.
Current Military: Form 702—Leave and Earnings Statement
If you are currently in the military, your leave and earnings statements, which you know as an LES, can be used to show proof of service, especially for VA loan applications when applying for a USAA banking account or auto insurance, and when claiming your education benefits. Sometimes, auto dealerships offer discounts to military and veterans and request an LES as proof.
Your LES is your pay stub and shows your income, deductions, and entitlements. However, it also shows your SSN, so this isn't something that you want to place where anyone can see it or keep it where anyone can pick it up or you could risk having your identity stolen. One thing you can do is to ask the individual who is requesting proof of service if they need to see your social security number or not. If not, scratch that information out to make it unreadable.
Typically, it's a good idea to use your most recent LES and, actually, most lenders will require the most recent copy of it. If you are TDY or deployed and your most recent LES is unavailable to you, your spouse can go to the military finance office on post if he or she has the authority to act on your behalf with a Power of Attorney from you.
Military Veteran: DD214—Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
If you are a veteran of the military, you can use copies of your DD214 to show proof of your service. In fact, you will need your DD214 to receive a veteran ID card from the government. However, getting a veteran ID card from the Veteran's Administration is not a requirement unless you want to use benefits provided to you by or backed by the federal government, such as getting a VA loan, using your GI bill, and getting healthcare for any presumptive illnesses.
There is a short version and a long version of your DD214. Before meeting with someone who needs proof of service, ask them if they need to see the short or long version of the DD214. If you've already used all of the copies you were given on your ETS date or you have misplaced them, you can obtain new copies by ordering them from the National Archives.
If you notice an error on your DD214 or it's missing important information, you'll need to submit a DD149 (application for the correction of a military record) so you can get a DD215 (Correction to DD214). Should this be the case, your DD215 should be automatically attached to your DD214 so that any time you request your DD214 the DD215 will accompany the original.Share