Military Discharge Upgrade

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In the unfortunate circumstance where there is an error or an injustice in your military personnel records, or if you have received an unfair or erroneous characterization of service, there is a process available for you to get your records corrected by receiving a Military Discharge Upgrade. Your discharge status tells the story about the sacrifices you made for this country.  If you received anything less than an Honorable Discharge, you may face uncertainty in future job prospects. You may also lose your GI Bill, education benefits and reduced or eliminated VA benefits. If your military discharge status is affecting you, contact a qualified Military Discharge Upgrade Attorney.

The Carlson Law Firm is a veteran-owned law firm with more than 40 years of experience representing America’s bravest. Many of our attorneys are veterans themselves and understand first hand that separating from the military can be challenging in numerous ways. We will fight to get you the benefits and status you are entitled to.

Military Discharge Upgrades Process

Each military branch has two entities that have the authority to either upgrade your discharge or correct your military records: the Discharge Review Board (DRB) and the Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR). The Discharge Review Board can upgrade general discharges and change the reason for the discharge. 

These boards create a path for those have received anything less than an honorable discharge. You may want to consider having your discharge changed if you have general courts-martial discharge, want to change your discharge to or from medical retirement medical or medical discharge. 

Military Discharge Upgrade Review Board

The DRB may only upgrade discharges or change the reason for the discharge. It cannot change re-enlistment (RE) codes, reinstate service members, or otherwise modify or change any other contents of military personnel records.

Generally, discharges can be upgraded as follows:

  • A General can be upgraded to an Honorable;
  • An Other Than Honorable can be upgraded to a General or Honorable;
  • A Bad Conduct Discharge resulting from a Special Court-martial can be upgraded to an Honorable, General, or Other Than Honorable; and
  • An Other Than Honorable discharge received while in entry-level status can be upgraded to an uncharacterized discharge.

The DRB cannot review a discharge resulting from a General Court-martial. In addition, it cannot overturn, pardon, or eliminate a court-martial conviction.

Board For Correction Of Military Records

The Army and Air Force BCMRs, and the Board for Correction of Naval Records are authorized to change your military personnel records in many ways. The only thing these Boards are prohibited from doing is to overturn a court-martial conviction. The BCMR can:

  • Review and change the decision of a DRB regarding a discharge;
  • Review and change discharges, including Bad Conduct Discharges or Dishonorable Discharges and/or Dismissals, resulting from General Courts-martial;
  • Change discharges to/from medical/disability retirement, enabling a VA pension;
  • Change re-enlistment (RE) codes;
  • Eliminate disciplinary actions (fines, reductions in rank, etc.);
  • Remove bad performance evaluations, counseling entries, etc.;
  • Re-instate service member; and
  • Make other changes to personnel records.

What does the military consider a good defense?

According to the VA, all branches of the military will consider a discharge upgrade if you can prove your discharge was related to the following conditions: 

  • Mental health (including PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Sexual assault or harassment during the time of your service (Military Sexual Trauma)
  • Sexual orientation (including under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy)

You may even be eligible for a discharge upgrade if you served honorably and experienced a single bad incident. For example, if you were abusing drugs or alcohol as a means of self-medication PTS, contact a qualified Military Discharge Upgrade attorney. An attorney can help you determine how to move forward with getting your military discharge upgrade. 

Defending Your Reputation And Your Rightful Military Benefits

People seek a Military Discharge Upgrade for different reasons. Some of our clients want to be eligible for education or VA benefits. Some want to re-enlist but have re-enlistment eligibility (RE) codes that prohibit them from active duty. Others may feel like they were railroaded into administrative discharge as they got close to eligibility for the length of service retirement.

No matter the reason for your desire for a Military Discharge Upgrade, The Carlson Law Firm is here to help you. We are a veteran-owned and veteran-operated firm with strong ties to a number of military branches.

A number of our partners and associates are former JAG officers.

Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation today.


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