LVMAC Tidbit: DoD and VA Release Online Tool to Assist Veterans with Discharge Upgrade Process

On 25 January 2018, the Department of Defense, working with the Department of Veterans Affairs, announced that it had launched a new online tool to assist veterans with their discharge upgrades.  The news release also provides sources for more information on the subject.

Further down in its news release is a driving rationale behind creating this tool:

This initiative was one of many in recent years aimed at improving the review process and guidance available to veterans who believe they may have been unfairly discharged or received an unfair discharge characterization. The Department issued special guidance in 2011 for veterans discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or its predecessor policies. Also, the Department issued guidance related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2014.  Most recently, in February 2016, the Department redoubled its efforts to ensure veterans received the benefit of the latest guidance and statutes of limitations were liberally waived in such cases.  Subsequently, in December 2016, the Department launched an internal review of its policies and procedures. That review disclosed some gaps and confusion in the previous guidance.  In August 2017, the Department issued significant guidance clarifying how review boards will consider cases involving mental health conditions, including PTSD, TBI, sexual assault, or sexual harassment.

The tool itself is most easily found at https://www.vets.gov/discharge-upgrade-instructions.  However, because of the seriousness of such a process and the driving rationale — and though this is not an issue that can be resolved by the VA issue per se but instead a military department — we continue to recommend that you first see an accredited veterans service officer before beginning any discharge upgrade process, for though their primary work tends to be centered on VA matters, they also deal with military service issues such as these.

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As of 5 February 2018

 

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