Military service is honorable, but the type of discharge service members receive can impact their post-military life, particularly their benefits and opportunities.
Unfortunately, more than 75,000 veterans did not receive an honorable discharge. These veterans should learn about the relationship between military discharge upgrades and benefits.
Benefits hinge on discharge status
According to U.S. Digital Service, service members’ discharge status impacts their eligibility for veterans benefits and services. Less-than-honorable discharge types, such as general, other-than-honorable, bad conduct and dishonorable discharges, might restrict access to resources. An honorable discharge opens doors to VA healthcare, education benefits like the GI Bill and veterans’ preference for federal jobs.
Increasing benefits through discharge upgrades
Service members often seek discharge upgrades to address discharge injustices. New orders give them access to benefits or increase their post-military prospects. Veterans have 15 years from the date of their discharge to pursue an upgrade.
Discharge upgrade procedures
First, veterans should fill out and submit DD Form 293 to their branch of service. Then, Discharge Review Boards oversee their upgrade requests and allow these service members to present their cases. Veterans need to provide compelling evidence for an upgrade. This evidence may include discrimination, sexual assault or harassment or mental health challenges.
They should present a well-structured petition that outlines their request. They should also prepare to fight for an upgrade before the review board. Veterans can also pursue an appeal if their upgrade gets denied.
Veterans who seek to upgrade their discharge orders to access more benefits should learn and pursue these processes.