The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as an organization for war time veterans. Membership is open only to men and women who served active duty in the US Armed Forces during specific periods designated as “war time” by the US Congress, and who have received an honorable discharge, or are still serving honorably. Eligible veterans would be able to provide a Form DD214 (or similar) to verify their eligibility. If you don’t meet these requirements, then we’re sorry, but you’re not eligible for membership.
It’s possible that you may be able to join one of the other organizations in the “Legion Family.” The Sons of The American Legion (SAL) is comprised of male descendants, adopted sons and step-sons of American Legion members. (There are no age limitations.) Many posts have an active SAL program and you can contact one near you to learn more. (Visit www.legion.org/sons for more information.)
Our sister organization is the American Legion Auxiliary. Eligibility is open to mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, grand-daughters, great-grand-daughters, or grandmothers of members of The American Legion, or of deceased veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces during the listed war eras. (Women who are eligible for membership in The American Legion are also eligible to join the Auxiliary.) Visit their website at www.alaforveterans.org or you can reach their National Headquarters office by calling 317-569-4500.
Our life membership program is called Paid-Up-For-Life (PUFL). To find out how much it would cost for you to become a PUFL member, visit www.legion.org/pufl to get a personalized quote. You can print an application to mail in, or just complete and submit your application online!
The American Legion Department Service Officers are specially trained to provide information and assistance relating to the VA and other veteran’s issues. You can call our Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division in our DC office at 202-861-2700 or email them at VAR@legion.org. You can also find a listing of American Legion certified Service Officers on our web site at www.legion.org/serviceofficers . Or, if your cell phone service permits it, you can also download The American Legion Claims Coach, our mobile application; it contains information, directories and other valuable resources for veterans.
There are no death benefits simply by virtue of your membership, however, if a member passes away, the family should check to see if he/she held a life insurance policy with any of our benefit partners. (Since this is protected information, National Headquarters doesn’t have this available on its records.) Family members can contact our insurance providers at the numbers listed below to see if the member had an active policy:
Additionally, some Departments (States) offer a free $1000 accidental death benefit with a paid membership, which is also separate from the National Organization. You would need to contact the member’s Department Headquarters to inquire about a possible death benefit; you can find a listing of the Department offices on our website at www.legion.org/membershipmanagement.
By the way, you should also contact the Veterans Administration at 1-800-827-1000 to see if there would be a death benefit as a result of the veteran’s military service.
Renewal notices are mailed from National Headquarters based the information on our records at the time the notices are printed. So, although you may have paid your dues a month ago, or even longer, the National portion of your dues may not have reached our offices yet. Briefly, when you pay your dues to the Post, they process your payment and keep a portion for the Post; the balance is sent to your Department Headquarters with your membership card; and finally, the Department deducts its portion of your dues and then forwards the remaining balance and your membership card to National. Once we receive your dues and card, we usually have renewals processed within 48 hours of receipt. (New memberships take a little longer since they have to be hand-processed.)
If you look at the bottom right-hand corner of the renewal notice, you’ll see there is an “as of” date which tells you when the notice was printed. If you paid your dues sometime around that date, your dues and the renewal probably just crossed in the mail, and you shouldn’t receive another one for that membership year. BUT, if you paid well in advance of that “as of” date, then you should contact your Post Adjutant to verify the status of your renewal payment.
Your membership actually expires on December 31st of the paid year shown on your card. It can be a little confusing sometimes because your annual dues are supposed to be paid by January 1st each year so National starts accepting dues for the upcoming year on July 1st. The goal is to have everyone renewed for the new year by January 1st, when it begins.
The annual card reflects your continuous years of membership… “continuous” being the key word here. If you miss even a single year of paying dues, your continuous years start over at one. However, if you think there’s a mistake, contact your Post Adjutant and if it’s confirmed there is an error, he/she can submit a request to correct your record.
The transfer process is really easy. All you need to do is call or visit Post 2 and speak with an officer. It’s a very simple process; you’ll need to provide your 9-digit Member ID Number and you should also be prepared to provide a copy of your DD214 (or similar) to verify your eligibility. After acceptance of your membership, he/she will submit the necessary paperwork to notify the Department (State) and National Headquarters of your transfer.
When you first join The American Legion, through National Headquarters, your membership will be assigned to the Department (State) Headquarters Post in the state where you live. The HQ Posts are basically administrative posts only and there are no meetings or activities, although you’re entitled to the same membership benefits as anyone else, and can visit the local posts as a guest. Of course, you can choose to remain in the HQ Post but we recommend that you visit posts in your area and if you find one you like, you’re free to apply for transfer (it’s easy…just talk to one of the officers to get it started). It’s a great way to get involved with your local community.
Yes, you’ll get your membership card and any free gifts mentioned in the letter, as long as you apply from that special website. You should receive your new member packet, including your membership card and free gift, approximately 4-6 weeks after you submit your application. However, if you decide to go ahead and mail your application to us, it would take about 4-6 weeks after we receive your application at National Headquarters. (Applies only to new members who join through National.)
Thanks for taking advantage of the online renewal option! You should have received and, hopefully, printed the acknowledgement form showing your new membership card since it will serve as confirmation that your dues are paid. National Headquarters usually updates its records within 24-48 hours to reflect the dues payment. Your Department Headquarters is also notified and your Post Adjutant receives notification through the Post Officer’s version of the myLegion website. Your pre-printed annual membership card is at your Post and it should be forwarded to you after they review the notification of your renewal. If you don’t receive it in a timely manner, contact your Post Adjutant for assistance.
You can go to www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records to request another copy of your discharge papers. A copy of orders putting you on federal active duty can be used as proof of eligibility as well.
Yes. Uncharacterized discharges are assumed to be under honorable conditions unless specifically stated otherwise.
No. Eligible members must have federal military service during a qualifying period and received an honorable discharge or discharge under honorable conditions.
Yes, only if you were a U.S. citizen at the time of entry.
Yes. Even though women served separately than men, their service is equal.
Yes. In the mid-60’s all basic training and occupational training schools were considered federal active duty service.
No. Per National Constitution and By-laws, no form or class of membership is authorized except regular active or paid up for life.
Yes. The American Legion has considered service in the military academies as eligible for membership since WWI.
No. Title 32 orders are issued under a governor’s authority, whereas Title 10 orders are issued from the Secretary of Defense.
Yes. Title 10 orders are issued by the Secretary of Defense and therefore are federal orders.
Yes. Location of active duty service is not a consideration for membership.
Yes. As long as you have served at least one day of federal active duty during any of the qualifying periods, you are eligible for membership.
Yes. The current eligibility period from is from August, 1990 – Present, and includes the current war campaigns. All current active duty military are eligible for membership.