Recorder Karen Yarbrough (left) looks on as Director of Operations Gabriel Fakhouri (right) explains the DD-214 recording process to Congresswoman Duckworth.

Recorder Karen Yarbrough (left) looks on as Director of Operations Gabriel Fakhouri (right) explains the DD-214 recording process to Congresswoman Duckworth.

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) recently visited the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds (CCRD) to tour their new Veterans Service Office and record her own DD-214 military discharge papers, ensuring that she will always be able to quickly retrieve a copy in case the original is ever lost or destroyed.

“For veterans, the DD-214 is the most important document needed for proving an honorable discharge and for accessing a wide variety of veterans services, including education and health care,” said Duckworth, a Lt. Colonel and former Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “Taking ten minutes at the Cook County Recorder’s Office to file their DD-214 can save veterans and their families weeks of waiting down the road and prevent delays in receiving needed benefits.”

County recorders in Illinois are authorized to permanently store copies of military discharge records. This service is free to veterans, and includes a free certified copy. State law protects the privacy of these recordings, which are not considered public records. For new DD-214 recordings, personal information such as Social Security Numbers is digitally redacted. All DD-214s are protected from public view, and are only available to the person named in the document, their dependents, a county veterans’ service officer, representatives of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, or any person with written authorization from the veteran.

“We are thankful for Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s service to our state and nation, and her visit to record her DD-214 will help raise awareness about the importance of safeguarding this document,” said Karen A. Yarbrough, Recorder of Deeds. “Our Veterans Service Office was created so that veterans and their families don’t have to stand in line or visit multiple departments when they come to our office, and instead can be served in a private, welcoming space.”

DD-214s can be recorded at any CCRD location, but at this time, certified copies are only available at the Downtown Chicago location.