It’s possible that after a less-than-honorable discharge, somebody told you not to worry about the main concerns veterans have about a discharge of this nature, including:
- Limited or no access to VA disability benefits.
- Discrediting the service you provided the country.
Many individuals, even active service people and other veterans, believe that discharge status is “automatically upgraded” after six months…
It isn’t true.
At no point after you leave the military will your records or discharge status be changed or upgraded “automatically.”
Not at six months, not at six years. If you have a viable reason to upgrade or change the reason for your discharge, you will need to take direct action.
Be aware that it is extremely difficult to obtain any changes to your discharge status or any part of your military records. It’s also important to understand that any information you provide to a military review board will be entered into your permanent record and may make it impossible to change anything in the future. It is highly recommended that you hire an experienced Dallas VA benefits attorney to help protect your interests.
Two Review Boards
There are several types of changes or corrections a veteran may want to address on his military permanent record. Which board you apply to initially is determined by your circumstances and the nature of your issue.
Here is a list of criterion for applying:
- Your discharge status is other than honorable, special court-martial bad conduct, or general, and you want to try to upgrade it.
- You want to change the reason for your discharge.
- It has been less than 15 years since your discharge.
- You want the ability for a one-time appeal of an unfavorable decision on a discharge upgrade.
It may be best for you to apply at the Discharge Review Board, or DRB, level. Discharge Review Boards exist for each branch of the military and provide a less formal review for veterans applying for changes or corrections to their reasons for discharge.
If, on the other hand, you need a board with the authority to:
- Upgrade a general court martial discharge…
- Change a medical discharge to military retirement, or vice versa…
- Appeal a DRB decision…
- Change reenlistment codes…
- Reinstate a veteran into the military (extremely rare)…
- Make a different type of change to military records…
- Review a case for a veteran who was discharged more than 15 years ago…
…you may want to apply directly to the Board of Corrections for Military Records (BCMR). This higher-level board has the authority to make any changes to your records besides overturning a courts-martial conviction.
To learn more about discharge upgrades and the VA appeals process, contact the experienced lawyers at Morgan & Weisbrod toll-free at 877-898-1581today. Not sure you want to have an attorney help you with your appeal? Check out our client testimonials and learn how you can benefit from legal advice and support.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.