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Military Records... What Can A Employer Get?

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I'm currently applying for a position within a Police Department... what military records will an agency/employer be able to receive?

My question is, will they be able to get full copies of my service record, medical records, etc... or just my DD Form 214 and whatever I provide to them.

I didn't know if there is a "by law" clause for Veterans on what potential employers can get from the military.


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On 3/16/2012 at 6:56 AM, Philip Rogers said:

I believe anyone can get a copy of anyone's military records, under the FOIA but they will be somewhat redacted.



That's actually wrong. Under FOIA you can only get someone's name and service dates. Medals, awards, discharge, and all documents can not be given by FOIA. 

This is how it works. Your employer must do 2 things in order to get your military records. First, they must have military records in wording on their background check form. If the background check does not state "military records" your employer can not legally ask for a copy of them. If the background check does include military records and you sign it your employer must ask you to fill out form SF-180. This is a form to request your military records.

The process has to be done in that way because a background check only includes public information. So criminal and civil issues will be listed and findable. Military records are not public information so an employer can not pull them without your consent. If an employer tries to pull them without your consent using FOIA all they can get is your name and service dates. Again, discharge, medals, and all military documents pertaining to you are not covered by FOIA.

So if you're trying to get a job read the background check before you sign it. As long as it does not state "military records" they legally can not even ask for them. If it does state "military records" they can ask for them but you still have to consent to them oulki g your records by filling out form SF-180.

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After being discharged from the military I worked for city and county government. I applied for an administrative job working for a city PD. When applying and being hired for these jobs, nobody asked for any records from the military. Not even a DD 214. You might need to show a DD 214 if they give consideration to veterans.

They were more interested in giving me an extensive pre-employment physical and my test scores on written and oral service civil service exams. I did not have any pre-employemnt security screening for the jobs I applied for. If they give you pre-employment security screening they have other ways of obtaining information on you than obtaining records. The screeners are highly trained investigators who will Interrogate you and anybody you know. I have been on all ends of this process. I was interrogated as a potential employee for a non government job and as a roomate of an individual seeking employment with a government contractor. Also, I was trained to perform the pre-employment screening.


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I got hired as a Police Officer after active duty in 2008. They were pro military and didn't ask for any records. The Chief knew about my receiving VA disability and it didn't matter to him. I did supply them with a copy of my Army Commendation Medal and a diploma from an Anti-Terrorism course I had taken during my service, because I thought they added to my resume.

During the interview, they did ask me about my knowledge of firearms from the military and I did keep it relevant to being a Police Officer, i.e., pistol, shotgun and rifle.

I think they (read, small town) were more impressed with my military service and being reliable. I think they were a little burned out on the drama of recent hires. The Chief did comment that they were looking for a little "adult supervision" when they hired me. I think the military gives you that edge, if you use it correctly.

Good luck to you,


“There is no hook my friend. There's only what we do.”  Doc Holiday 

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Sorta punted on your original question, so here is my opinion....

For your military record, you would have to ok it by signing a SF 180 - Request Pertaining to Military Records. So I don't think they can or know how they would without you helping.

For your VA record, I believe that would fall under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and again, you would have to approve the release.

So, with that said, I do not think they can get you military record without you releasing it.

However, they may be able to not hire you if you don't give them info they request, etc....

I did have to do a criminal record check ($10) and give that to them (the police academy) before I could start the academy and become a certified LEO..

As a LEO, I do criminal background checks on people; however it is illegal for me to do so unless I have a case number to go with it. So, I believe that is why I had to do my own for the academy. Again privacy issues.. In other words, I can't do a criminal background check just for kicks.

Hope that helps,


“There is no hook my friend. There's only what we do.”  Doc Holiday 

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I never worked for the city or the state, but I did put 31 years in with the Feds. The only thing they ask for was my DD 214. The only reason was, they needed it to verify my time in service cause service time counts towards your retirement with civil service. I don't know how stringent the procedures are for background checks for city/state employee's, but I can say the FBI gets involved with some of the investigation process with Federal employee's, and in the 31 years I never heard of anyone's military records brought up as far as being hired. Well anyway, I wish you luck on your adventure with the PD.



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