Office of the Albany County Clerk

Veterans: Recording Discharge Certificate (DD214)

Albany County Clerk Programs and Services

Veterans!
Here's How to Record Your Discharge at a County Clerk's Office in New York State

Honorably discharged veterans of the United States armed forces are entitled to record their discharge certificates (DD214) at the County Clerk's office where they live, free of charge. Certified copies of recorded discharges will be made, again free of charge, for veterans or their immediate families whenever needed.

  • Why Should You Record Your Honorable Discharge?
  • How to Get Your Honorable Discharge Recorded.
  • Why Would I Ever Need a Copy of My Discharge?
  • For More Information...

Why should you record your honorable discharge at the County Clerk's office?
The honorable discharge certificate provided to a veteran on leaving the service is the most common proof of service in the armed forces. It is a valuable and important document, like a deed or a mortgage, and New York State law provides a way for this valuable document to be recorded at the County Clerk's office, just as deeds and mortgages are.

Once recorded at the Clerk's office, a DD214 is available at any time in the future, even if the original document should be lost by its owner. A certified copy of a discharge certificate is legally as acceptable as the original.

How to get your honorable discharge recorded.
You can click the link at the bottom of this page for a contact list of every County Clerk's office in New York State. If you know the name of your home county, just look on the list for the address of the Clerk's office. If you're not sure of the county, call the nearest County Clerk's office and ask them to verify that your town or city is in that county. Be careful: sometimes the city shown on your mailing address is actually in another county!

Once you know which County Clerk's office you want to record your discharge in, you can either bring the discharge in to that office in person, or mail it in. You have to bring (or mail) the original document, not a copy. Your original document will be returned directly to you. There is never a charge for this service.

New Law Prevents Identity Theft! Section 250 of the military law provides for free recording of all veterans' honorable discharges, and now requires that these recorded DD214s be sealed from public view. This section of this law now reads: "No filed certificate or any information contained therein, shall be disclosed to any person except the veteran or parent, spouse, dependent or child of the veteran, representative of the estate of the deceased veteran or a public official, acting within the scope of his or her employment, unless such disclosure is authorized in writing by the veteran."

Why would I ever need a copy of my discharge?
The best reason to record your discharge certificate is to insure against losing the original. Once recorded, certified copies will be made for you or your immediate family, free of charge, whenever you need them, even if you lose the original.

Discharge papers are the best proof of military service, and these important papers are used to prove eligibility for a variety of benefits, from property tax exemptions to civil service credits.

For more information...
The County Veterans Service officer in your county can provide you with information on other benefits you're entitled to as a veteran. Click here for the Albany County VeteransService Bureau. The County Clerk's office has information about mortgages, deeds, and other important records.