Pentagon Changes Policy to Allow More Veterans to Upgrade Bad Paper Discharges

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Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) October 12, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Defense announced the expansion of its policy to permit more veterans with other-than-honorable discharges to apply for a review and request a potential upgrade to their status.

In a recent memorandum, the Pentagon directed the Army Review Boards Agency to consider whether a veteran had an experience or condition that could qualify them to seek an upgrade to their bad paper discharge. The agency was told to provide “liberal consideration” to veterans whose discharge was connected to a mental health condition, sexual harassment or sexual assault. The Army Review Boards Agency is responsible for changing military records.

“This memo offers hope to thousands of veterans who have been treated unfairly due to a bad paper discharge,” commented Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “Having an other-than-honorable discharge makes veterans ineligible for Department of Veterans Affairs health care, education benefits and other important services.”

The policy change was devised in an effort to provide veterans with a reasonable opportunity to establish the circumstances of their discharge, according to a statement. For years, veterans have asked the government to recognize that bad paper discharges can arise from the effects of trauma or mental health conditions related to service.

Previously, veterans with bad paper discharges had 15 years to apply for a status review. Under the new policy, the Pentagon extended the amount of time veterans have to seek an upgrade if the discharge was related to the conditions or experiences outlined in the memo. It expands on the 2014 order in which the time cap for discharges linked to traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder were removed.

“Veterans who desire a correction to their service record or who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade, are encouraged to apply for review,” the Pentagon stated in a release. “This guidance fills in the gaps and resolves any confusion that veterans or the review boards may have had, and it ensures a fair and equitable review of separations for all veterans.”

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