As we celebrate Memorial Day, Flag Day and Independence Day, I would like our veterans and their families to consider the security of one of the most important documents they possess, their DD-214 military discharge records.
One year ago this Flag Day, my office celebrated the opening of our Veterans Services Office. This was a very proud moment for me, because my family has a proud history of serving this nation. My father and husband have served - as well as my brother and sister - and my son presently serves this great nation as a Captain in the United States Army.
As we honor those who served before us and serve us now, I want to urge all veterans to safeguard their DD-214 military discharge records with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds-Veterans Service Office. This document is proof of your honorable service, and is what is required to apply for your well-deserved benefits such as medical care, educational benefits, and VA loans for housing, among others.
In a time of need, wouldn’t you like the peace of mind that your family can access these valuable documents in a safe and secure fashion if they are ever lost? Letting them know, in advance, that our office has a copy can save them time and worry, especially if you are unable to communicate to them the location of this document. We record the DD-214 and provide you a certified copy, both for free, and if you or a member of your family ever need to retrieve a certified copy of a DD-214 that you have recorded, it is only $1.25.
Many times, when I attend veteran’s events, I am asked about the security of recorded DD-214s. I want to take this opportunity to allay any fears you may have about this. All DD-214s are protected from public view, and are available only to the person named in the document, the named person’s dependents, the county veteran’s service officer, and representatives from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. DD-214s stored in my office are not public records.
Veterans may record their DD-214s at our Downtown Chicago Office at 118 N. Clark, or at any of the courthouses conveniently located in Cook County. These locations are in Bridgeview, Markham, Maywood, Rolling Meadows and Skokie (at this time, certified copies are only available at our Downtown Office). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (312) 603-5788 or visit CookRecorder.com.
I want to thank all our veterans and their families for the sacrifices they have made in order to protect our freedoms at home, and spread the message of hope and peace throughout the world. I also want to wish everyone a safe and happy summer.