The character of your military service matters greatly when you leave the military. Your ability to access benefits, including VA disability benefits, depends on the nature of your service. If you received a dishonorable discharge, for example, you can find that most veterans benefits will be inaccessible to you. 

Some veterans earn a less-than-honorable discharge through insubordination, poor discipline, or even criminal acts. For other veterans, though, the behavior that led to the less-than-honorable discharge has an explanation that is now more fully understood. These veterans could benefit from a discharge upgrade

veteran discharge upgrades wait

Discharge Upgrades Explained 

As the phrase implies, asking for a discharge upgrade involves making a request to your service’s discharge review board and asking them to correct the type of discharge you received. Rarely, if ever, will these requests be granted out of the board’s goodwill; instead, such requests are granted because: 

  • The military initially made a mistake in the way it characterized your service 
  • Your disciplinary or other issues were due to a traumatic brain injury 
  • You suffered sexual abuse while in the military 
  • Your discharge was based on your sexual orientation 

In addition, the boards will also consider other mental health conditions and brain injuries that could have impacted your behavior while in the service. 

Obtaining a Discharge Upgrade is Still an Uphill Battle 

Even though guidance suggests that boards are to liberally consider the impact of certain conditions and events on your service, the burden still falls to you to demonstrate you are entitled to a discharge upgrade. If you do not present sufficient evidence to demonstrate why your upgrade request should be granted, it will be denied. 

You do have the right to appeal upgrade request denials, The Discharge Appeal Review Board (DARB) is the final authority on requests for a discharge upgrade. 

Prepare for a Long Wait 

If you are applying for a discharge upgrade, prepare yourself for a long process. Not only must you prepare your request by pulling together evidence and records that support your request, but you must then wait for your service’s board to make a decision. This could take a year or more to get an answer on your initial request. If you must appeal a denial, the process can take even longer. 

Why a Cincinnati Veterans Law Attorney Is a Good Investment 

When your VA disability benefits are on hold because of a negative discharge, you want to make the most of your opportunities. By working with Veterans Law Attorneys on your discharge upgrade and VA disability case, you are availing yourself of a resourceful and knowledgeable firm with advocates that can help you put your discharge upgrade request and VA benefit appeal in the best light. 

If you have been denied VA benefits because of your discharge, reach out and contact Veterans Law Attorneys for help with your next steps. You can call our office at (866) 894-9773 or complete our online contact form to schedule your consultation.  

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