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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 5, 2019 10:50 AM
From: Representative Joe Webster
To: All House members
Subject: Veterans’ Records of Discharge

Currently, veterans may and often do file their DD-214s and other discharge orders with the Recorder of Deeds in their county to access an array of benefits through county Veterans Affairs offices. These papers include an abundance of personal information on them including birthdates and Social Security numbers. By law, these records must be sealed and are only accessible by a veteran who is the subject of a record, an immediate family member, or an authorized agent of the veteran. However, current law also allows that after 75 years the records become available to anyone who makes a request to review them.

Unfortunately, people are now using these records, trying to take advantage of elderly veterans and commit crimes against them including larceny and identity theft. County Recorders of Deeds are reporting that unidentified and unrelated persons are requesting copies of veterans’ discharge papers (DD-214s) oftentimes for living veterans who are in their late 90s.

I will be introducing legislation to eliminate this problem by making DD-214s inaccessible to anyone other than a veteran, or an immediate family member, or an authorized agent of the veteran. Genealogists may continue to request redacted copies of DD-214s through either the Pennsylvania Military and Veterans Affairs Department or the US Department of Veterans Affairs. But we need to protect veterans’ records where they are most vulnerable.

Please join me in supporting the privacy of our veterans by co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1630