Military medical or personnel records can get lost or misplaced, which can be frustrating if a service member has died and the family needs the deceased person’s records.

These records may be obtained from the National Personnel Records Center by the next of kin, normally at no cost. Next of kin is considered the surviving spouse who has not remarried, father, mother, son, daughter, sister or brother. Proof of death of the veteran must be provided.

“There are a number of reasons that a veteran or family member may want military separation documents, service personnel records or medical records,” Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a news release. “These records are used for applying for veteran benefits, retirement preparation, funeral or even researching family military history.”

To release records, the National Archives requires the following information about the veteran: The complete name used while in service, service number, Social Security number, branch of service, dates of service, date and place of birth.

All requests must be signed and dated by the veteran or next of kin. If the veteran is deceased, the family needs to provide proof of death, such as a copy of the death certificate, a letter from the funeral home or a published obituary when requesting documents.

Service information can be requested from eVetRecs online or by filling out an SF180 form and following the instructions to mail or fax the form. Urgent records requests can be made by adding the nature of the urgency and deadline in the comments section of eVetRecs or in the purpose section of the SF180 form.

The government provides basic military personnel and medical records information at no charge if the veteran was discharged after 1955. If the discharge occurred prior to 1955, the records have been archived and could be subject to a fee. If the request involves a service fee, the requester will be notified as soon as possible.

Arkansas military service members, veterans and families can file consumer complaints with the Attorney General’s office on or by calling 800-482-8982.