DOBSON — They are some of the most important papers you’ll ever receive, and one county official is offering local veterans a way to protect them.
Surry County Register of Deeds Carolyn Comer is urging county veterans to file their military release papers with her office.
Military discharge papers, known widely as form DD 214, is often required for veterans to obtain various federal, state and local benefits. The form, which can also be obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration, includes information about dates of service, last duty assignment, rank, military specialty and medals and awards received by the veteran.
While Comer said filing the papers with her office is not a requirement, she is offering the option as a service to county veterans.
“The option of filing a copy of the DD 214 with my office is available for county veterans as a convenience,” she said, noting it’s always wise to have a backup copy on file. “Registering the papers with our office could help veterans prevent identity fraud, and give them a way to quickly obtain a new copy if they’re lost or stolen.”
Although Comer said it is preferable that the veteran bring in the papers in person, there are options available if they are unable to file themselves.
“If the service member is unable to bring in the DD 214 themselves for filing and copying, their widow or widower or other person that is authorized may bring it in,” she said. “North Carolina law states the DD 214 cannot be delivered through the mail for filing. It has to be upon presentation in person for filing locally.”
Those automatically authorized to present the forms for filing include the service member and their widow or widower.
In addition, copies can be filed by:
• Representatives of the Veterans Affairs office, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense.
• A person presenting a notarized form from the veteran authorizing them to file on their behalf.
• The executor of a deceased veteran’s estate.
To register, Comer said veterans must provide an original DD 214 and present a valid ID.
“Staff members from the Surry County Register of Deeds office will be available to assist them with getting the papers filed properly.
No fee is charged for filing military discharge papers in the local office, or for providing certified copies to authorized recipients, Comer said.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.