New online tool provides Veterans with customized instructions for discharge upgrade process


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The U.S. military estimates that tens of thousands of Veterans with less than honorable discharges are likely to have discharges deserving of upgrades. These are Veterans who were discharged due to incidents relating to post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, sexual assault or sexual orientation. Essentially, these Veterans received a less than honorable discharge for what could be considered a service-connected condition.

In 2017, the VA received more than 5,000 calls with questions about military records, eligibility and discharge statuses. Many of those callers had sifted through multiple government and non-government websites but could not find the information they needed to try to upgrade their discharge.

When speaking to Veterans directly about the process, what they said was  “It’s jargon. I don’t understand,” “…brings in a thousand different variables all at once” and “the runaround is overwhelming.”

For these reasons, VA partnered with the Department of Defense to launch an online tool that provides clear, customized steps tailored to the individual Veteran. After answering a series of questions, the Veteran is provided with a single page of personalized information containing the correct form and military board for their case, as well as tips regarding the process and the supporting documentation they will need to upgrade their discharge.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs in developing this wonderful and easily accessible tool,” said Robert Wilkie, under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “We support our Veterans, whether they served recently or long ago and we are excited to introduce a tool that will individualize the guidance for those who desire an upgrade or change in their military discharge.”


About the author: Natalie Moore is a product manager for VA’s Digital Services.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Mark Boegel    

    Natalie,
    I work for a community mental health center in NH. One of my roles is “Military Liaison”. Earlier this week I was consulting with a colleague who had just encountered a Veteran with a less than honorable discharge who is struggling to access the services he needs. I will share this blog with her and I will also paste it into the Scuttlebutt column in out agency internal news letter.

    Semper Fidelis

    Mark Boegel, LCMHC

    1. Ralph Williams    

      I have went to Walgreens to get a flu shot and they said that I wasn’t in the system.

    2. Joseph Butkus    

      Funny anytime I need specialist they stall. The VA Myrtle Beach Sucks. Waiting 6 months just to see someone for my knee. Need a hour operation to scrape now they are trying to send me to rehab. Aholes nothing but agravation. FThem.

  2. William Jaggers    

    It would be helpful if the information on how to access this online tool was given, instead of just stating that there is one available.

    1. Roberto D Hernandez    

      HI, the link is there! Just click on “an online tool”.

  3. James Earl Bowman    

    I believe I got the criteria for a discharge upgrade. Can you send me more info on this subject and where I can go for assistance in filing this paperwork. I am in the Philadelphia area and I visit the VA hospital Mondays and Wednesdays. I’m available on those days in the afternoon. Thanks.

  4. James Earl Bowman    

    I believe I fit the criteria for a discharge upgrade. Can you send me more info on this subject and where I can go for assistance in filing this paperwork. I am in the Philadelphia area and I visit the VA hospital Mondays and Wednesdays. I’m available on those days in the afternoon. Thanks.

  5. Henry L. Homrighaus Jr.    

    I went to the tool and stated that I had made a previous request to upgrade my discharge from Under Honorable Conditions to honorable but was told I waited too long. The questions options don’t seem to match my circumstance. Is there someone I can contact visa the phone/email that can help me?

    1. Mason Lyons    

      Try the Vietnam Veterans of America. I filed before the tool was available and before the class action suit that took place in New Haven however the VVA has all the information and can be found on line. I filed and got the cold shoulder until the class action suite and Hagels new instructions to the DoD

  6. Wesley Reddish    

    I’d like more information on Discharge upgrade. I feel I was taken advantage of due to the fact I suffered from PTSD before going into the military and it may have influenced my abilities to perform my duties.
    My email address is as follows:
    (redacted)

  7. Gene S. Rana    

    I believe I deserve a discharge relook; why was I discharged on four fake allegations that Government failed to evidence? The evidence proves that the charges brought against me were fake.

    Why didn’t the SAIG actually investigate my Complaint; why was the PAI fudged? Evidence proves that the PAI is improper and false.

    I suffer from PTSD and my traumatic experience is due to fake charges and my fear is that the Army will reprise against me again.

  8. LeRoy Warren Jr    

    I never received a discharge physical and I need to apply for disability for PTSD. What do I need to do?

  9. Paul TENENBAUM    

    TO VETERANS OF WWII, KOREA AND VIETNAM:
    IF YOU SUSTAINED AN INJURY CAUSED BY EXPLOSIONS, NOW KNOWN AS TB.I,
    TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY AND DUE TO UNWILLINGNESS BY D.o.D.TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE INJURY.UNTIL 2003, MANY INJURED VETERANS SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE PURPLE HEART. THE REFUSAL BY THE D.o.D. TO DATE
    TO AWARD THOSE VETERANS IS “EXPLAINED” IN THEIR AWARDING THE P.H. ONLY IF AN OFFICER AND A DOCTOR WILL HAVE VERIFIED THE “INVISIBLE WOUND” WITHIN
    THREE DAYS OF THE INJURY OR SOONER IF THEY WERE ON LINE.
    SO FAR THE D.o.D. HAS SEEN FIT NOT TO CORRECT THE INJUSTICE.

    1. Gary Hicks    

      All comments are reviewed before being published, specifically for: spam, obscenities, and people leaving their personal information such social security numbers and or address and last four.

  10. Paul J Bobo    

    My name is Paul Jones Bobo, and I have been fighting the Military U.S.Marines Corps, and VARO for 45 years now.In 2013 the St.Louis,Missouri VARO refuse to give the veterans C-file to the Navy Review Board of The Navy Correction. To stop me from legally getting my discharge upgraded. I have copies of documents, on why? You all will see me in the News soon!

  11. donald w white    

    Sorry — we can’t find that page

  12. Jack E. Alexander    

    The proper link for the information one needs for discharge upgrade are:

    http://www.dd214.us/reference/how_to_upgrade_your_discharge.pdf

    http://www.woundedwarrior.marines.mil/Portals/213/Docs/IDES/dd0293.pdf?ver=2017-09-05-114320-643

    You will get 2 PDF forms that you will need to print and fill out. The instructions for each is very easy and is included in these documents.
    Good Luck!

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