PA House passes Webster bill to extend time limit for veterans' records not to be disclosed

HARRISBURG, JUNE 12 – Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation authored by state Rep. Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, that would protect the identity and privacy of Pennsylvania’s veterans as they age. House Bill 269, Veterans’ Records of Discharge, would extend the time period from 75 to 85 years for a veteran’s records of discharge or separation to remain undisclosed other than to the veteran, immediate family or authorized representatives.

“People are living longer, and we need to make sure our laws are keeping pace with this reality, especially to ensure that our veterans’ records are not being accessed for fraudulent purposes,” Wester said. “My bill would make DD-214 discharge papers inaccessible to anyone other than a veteran or an immediate family member or authorized agent of the veteran for 85 years, rather than the current 75 years. Genealogists may continue to request redacted copies of DD-214s through the federal Veterans Administration, if within that timeframe.”

Currently, veterans may file their DD-214s with their county’s recorder of deeds to access an array of benefits through the county’s Veterans Affairs office.

“Our veterans have served this country honorably, and whether their service was recent or decades ago, it is our responsibility to protect them after they have made sacrifices to protect us,” Webster said. “I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues in the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and the support of my colleagues on the floor of the House for taking up this important legislation and standing by our veterans.”

House Bill 269 now heads to the Senate for consideration.