Request that the individual provide all evidence of military service available. Veterans
should have received a full copy of DD Form 214 (CERTIFICATE OF RELEASE OR DISCHARGE
FROM ACTIVE DUTY) or equivalent document that contains the necessary information.
(A document equivalent to the DD-214 must contain the information in SI 00502.140C.1. to be acceptable evidence of military service.) Always secure evidence from the
individual before contacting other sources.
EXCEPTION: Members of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, organized guerilla forces, and Philippine
Scouts (as described in SI 00502.140A.2.) may have a military service discharge certificate such as a Form WD-53, which
may appear authentic. Copy such evidence for the file, but do not make a determination of eligibility based on such evidence alone. Military service, character of discharge, and verification
that discharge was not based on alienage MUST be obtained. See RS 01701.005 for procedures on obtaining verification of military service.
REMINDER: A qualified alien may be eligible on a time-limited basis without having veteran status
or a relationship to a person with veteran status if he/she was admitted as an Amerasian
immigrant, a refugee, granted asylum, had deportation or removal withheld, or was
admitted as a Cuban/Haitian entrant less than 7 years ago. See SI 00502.100D.
1. Evidence of Veteran Status Required for Eligible Alien Status
To determine honorable discharge, look for an entry of “Honorable” as the CHARACTER OF SERVICE block of DD Form 214 or equivalent document. If the evidence
characterizes the discharge as anything other than “Honorable”, such as “Under Honorable Conditions”, do not determine eligibility as a veteran or as a spouse or child of a veteran.
b. Discharge Not Based on Alienage
To determine that a discharge was not based on alienage, look in the NARRATIVE REASON
FOR SEPARATION block of DD Form 214. Do not determine eligibility based on veteran
status if the reason for separation shows the discharge was based on alien status,
lack of U.S. citizenship, or other “alienage” reason or if the SEPARATION CODE block contains an entry of JCP, KCP, SCP, or YCP.
Those codes establish discharge based on alienage.
NOTE: On DD Form 214, CHARACTER OF SERVICE SEPARATION CODE and NARRATIVE REASON FOR SEPARATION
are contained in a Special Additional Information section in the complete form of
the document that is furnished to the veteran.
c. Minimum Active-Duty Service Requirement
Determine that the individual meets the minimum active-duty service requirement if
the DD Form 214 or equivalent document shows 2 or more years of active duty in the
U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. If the discharge certificate
is not available, or if it shows active-duty service of less than 2 years, refer the
case to the VARO to determine satisfaction of the minimum active-duty service requirement.
If an eligibility determination has already been made on a case based on the military
service exception, assume, absent evidence to the contrary, that the minimum active-duty
service requirement is met.
2. Development of Questionable or Missing Evidence
Contact the VARO to verify if veterans status is met if:
the individual is unable to present evidence of military service,
the evidence presented is questionable (e.g., evidence appears to have been altered
the character of service is “Honorable,” but the entry for DEPARTMENT, COMPONENT AND BRANCH is not one of the 5 services listed
in SI 00502.140A.2.,
the evidence presented does not confirm 2 years or more of active-duty service, or
active duty for training (ACDUTRA) or inactive duty training is shown.
Provide the VARO with the full name of the individual claiming veteran status, the
date of birth, the service number (if issued), and the SSN. See RS 01701.005 for development of evidence of military service from other sources.