In the last three years, nearly 1,350 Delaware County veterans have taken advantage of a free program to protect their military discharge records, thanks to a recruitment effort launched by the Delaware County Recorder’s Office that also provides them with a Veteran ID card.
In the three years prior to the launch of this additional program, only 41 veterans had enrolled with the county.
“That’s a 3,100 percent increase in the number of veterans we’ve been able to help,” said Delaware County Recorder Melissa Jordan.
Military discharge records, often referred to as DD-214 documents, are proof that a veteran served his or her country and is eligible for a variety of benefits and services. If these records are lost or damaged, they can be very difficult and time-consuming to replace. County recorders’ offices have long provided veterans with an invaluable — and free — tool for filing and protecting copies of their original or certified discharge records.
However, Delaware County Recorder Melissa Jordan decided early in 2014 to go the additional step of offering a Veteran ID card that states a veteran has an “on-file” valid discharge recorded in that office: The card, which is available for $1, can then be used to obtain veteran benefits and services in the community. The response has been extremely successful.
Jordan explained why she wanted to reach more veterans: “Perhaps because filing discharge records with our office is voluntary, veterans didn’t realize what a valuable service this is. I think by adding the Veteran ID card, we have been able to get more veterans’ attention and help them get access to the benefits they deserve and need.”
Jordan said the records also are protected by her office.
“Military discharges are not under the same public records laws that apply to the real property records in our office. No one from the public may view your discharge records without proper authorization, per the Ohio Revised Code.”
Filing military discharge records is simple. Veterans need only bring a copy of their original discharge papers or a certified copy of them to the Delaware County Recorder’s Office, which is located on the first floor of the Hayes Administration Building, 140 N. Sandusky St., Delaware, during regular weekday business hours (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). Once recorded, veterans receive back their actual document and the copy remains on file in the recorder’s office for safekeeping. This service is offered for no charge.
For a $1 fee and by showing two forms of current and valid identification, a veteran can then obtain a Veteran ID card. Acceptable forms of identification are: an original or certified birth certificate; an ID card issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs; a US military ID card; a Social Security card; a state-issued license to carry a concealed weapon; a state-issued driver’s license; a state-issued ID; or a valid passport. At least one form of identification submitted must be a photo ID.
For information about the Delaware County Recorder’s office, please call 740-833-2460. For questions about obtaining military discharge papers, contact the Delaware County Veterans Service Commission at 740-833-2010.