If you were discharged from the military, then that will stay on your record. There are many reasons why you may be discharged, from dealing with an injury and disability to being penalized for misconduct.
Discharges are frowned upon, and being discharged could mean that you aren’t eligible for the benefits that you’ve earned over time during your service. That’s a frustrating situation to deal with, but the good news is that you may be able to have the discharge status upgraded.
What is a discharge status upgrade?
A discharge status upgrade changes your discharge’s level. For example, you may currently have a general discharge, but you may request to receive an honorable discharge instead. A general discharge indicates that you didn’t meet the Army’s expectations, but an honorable discharge would mean you left on good terms and had excellent ratings within the military.
As you can tell from that, your discharge level makes a difference in how you’re perceived. It also makes a big difference in the benefits that you receive.
How can you pursue a discharge status upgrade?
If you want to pursue a discharge status upgrade, you will need to contact your review board. You will need to prove that the status is an inequity, injustice or error to get it changed. That can be hard to do, which is why many people choose to work with an attorney familiar with appearing before review boards in the military.
There are some good reasons for pursuing discharge upgrades. Some may include:
- Finding new evidence that changes a situation you were penalized for or other conditions that affected your discharge
- Lacking competent legal counsel to defend yourself in the past
- Finding out that other service members who were your same rank were also reprimanded but that you received a harsher discharge than they did
- Believing that the law was misapplied or that the correct procedures were not followed.
Your attorney will help you request a discharge. Remember that you can only do this twice, so you need to act quickly and have all the documentation that you need prepared.
You may need to travel to the review board, since most do take place in Washington, D.C., but you may be able to go to a local office depending on your situation.