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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Help Available for Veterans Wanting to Upgrade a Less-than-Honorable Discharge

The VA and DoD have announced the development of a new online tool to assist veterans who need to upgrade their military discharge. The DOD estimates that there are tens of thousands of other-than-honorably (OTH) discharged veterans who received their designation unjustly, such as those whose discharges were related to circumstances like TBI, PTSD, sexual orientation, or sexual harassment.

In the past, these kinds of circumstances were not satisfactorily recognized, leading to many unjust OTH discharges. The VA and DoD are now trying to help these veterans get the benefits they should be entitled to by making it easier to correct an unjust OTH discharge.

According to the new online tool, veterans have a strong chance for an upgrade if they can connect their discharge to any of the following:

   - PTSD or other mental health disorders
   - TBI
   - sexual assault or harassment while in the military
   - sexual orientation, even under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy

Veterans who are successful in upgrading their discharge are then eligible to apply for disability and other benefits available to veterans through the VA.

With just a few short questions to answer, this new tool provides veterans with information and guidance geared specifically to their individual case, such as what forms to fill out, which armed services’ board to contact, how and where to submit the appeals application, and other tips designed to help them navigate the process.

By launching this tool, the VA and the DoD hope to enable veterans wanting to change or upgrade their discharge by giving them the information and resources they need all in one place, which could result in some of these veterans finally receiving the much needed benefits that they are currently denied.