Background checks are a common pre-employment requirement. When you complete an application, whether online or on paper, you must give your consent if a background check is to be performed, in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Background checks typically are conducted using consumer reporting agencies who access public records such as credit reports and court records -- both criminal and civil. Military records are not public records.
A DD-214 is a report of your separation from military service. It is needed to apply for military benefits, retirement, employment or membership in veteran's organizations. Only certain information is contained in a DD-214, and it is obtained by contacting the National Archives. Information included in the DD-214 includes date and place of entry to, and release from, military service; your address when you entered and left service; your last duty assignment and rank; military specialty and training; decorations, medals, badges, awards and campaigns; total and foreign creditable service; and separation information -- type, character of service; reason; and separation and reenlistment codes.
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If a person other than the service member wishes access to your military records, such as an employer performing a background check, it must be requested with your authorization or with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Military records generally are not public information. If you are considered next-of-kin, such as a parent, sibling or child of the service member, you can have limited access to a service record without authorization, but you must prove your relationship. If you consent to a background check, and the consent form includes military records, the potential employer may legally request your service records.
If your potential employer does not ask for your authorization but instead requests your records under the FOIA, he will receive only limited data but cannot receive your entire service record. Information granted under a FOIA request is limited to your name; past and present occupations; past and present titles; past and present salaries; past and present grades; and past and present job locations. Your separation status -- honorable, dishonorable, medical -- are not included.
If you apply for a job and request veteran's preference in hiring, you must provide a copy of your DD-214 in order to prove your service and eligibility for veteran's preference. The information on your DD-214 is available only to you and cannot be obtained through a background check.Failure to provide this document could result in your loss of the veteran's preference.