HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has updated online ordering through the Division of Vital Records to allow active military personnel, veterans, and their eligible family members to order veterans' birth and death certificates online at a significantly reduced cost. This move is part of a broader initiative of the Wolf Administration to improve and streamline government services.
Through working with the department's online vendor, active military members and veterans may apply using www.vitalchek.com and have the $20.00 birth certificate fee waived. This innovative idea allows Pennsylvania-born military personnel stationed throughout the country and the world to order and receive the same processing time as those who are stateside. The waiver also applies to veterans and their spouses if requesting the death certificate of their spouse.
"The Wolf Administration is dedicated to ensuring that our state's valued veterans have easy access to their vital records," said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. "The department made these updates to the birth and death certificate ordering process to give our commonwealth's servicemen and women the opportunity to have essential records at their fingertips in the most expedient and efficient method available."
All veterans and their spouses may request their Pennsylvania birth certificates for themselves or for their dependent children. They may also use their veteran status to request death certificates for a spouse or dependent children. Similarly, the widow/widower of a veteran may apply with veteran status for death certificates of a spouse or any dependent children.
"Anyone who has ever served in the military knows that proper documentation is essential when applying for benefits or services," said Brig. Gen. Jerry Beck Jr., Pennsylvania's Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs. "Fortunately, this online program allows our service members, veterans, and their family members to expedite the process to acquire these vital birth and death certificates, while also saving money."
If an individual has an armed service status, his or her certificate fee is waived, but the $10.00 processing fee still applies to these orders. This fee allows the Department of Health to expedite the processing. On average, online and phone orders are processed three weeks faster than mail orders.
"More often than not, the need to access a specific vital record, such as a birth or death certificate, comes unexpectedly," added Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Teresa Osborne. "The opportunity for older Pennsylvanians and their families to access such important records with expediency is another example of a government that works to serve and protect its citizens."
To visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website and order birth or death certificates, click here. If you have any questions about online ordering, please call 866-712-8238.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Worden, Health, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health